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Seoul: Stocks, won join global rally on ECB views

Friday, October 23, 2015 - 11:09
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[SEOUL] South Korean shares and the won rose sharply early on Friday, as the European Central Bank chief's comments signalling its readiness to expand stimulus lifted risky assets such as equity and emerging market currencies.

The Seoul stock market's KOSPI rose 1.4 per cent to 2,050.21 points as of 0235 GMT, with gainers leading losers by more than 2-to-1. Its gain was in line with a 1.55 per cent rise in Asian stocks outside Japan.

The won rose 1.2 per cent to 1,125.6 per dollar, compared with Thursday's domestic close of 1,138.6.

Traders welcomed data showing South Korea's economy grew slightly faster than expected during the third quarter but the immediate impact on markets was limited partly because top policymakers had already flagged a pick-up.

"The GDP data was positive but the numbers this morning were largely in line with expectations," said Seo Myung-chan, a stock analyst at Kiwoom Securities. "The market was more directly influenced by the ECB policy prospect." Shares in SK Innovation Co Ltd rose 6.5 per cent to 115,500 won after it announced its consolidated third-quarter operating profit rose 644 per cent over a year earlier.

But LG Display bucked the trend, falling 5.7 per cent to 22,200 won after the South Korean appliance maker reported weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings on Thursday.

After it held policy steady at its meeting on Thursday, as widely expected, the European Central Bank's chief, Mario Draghi, told a news conference that ECB policymakers were "open to the full menu of monetary policy" to stoke the euro zone economy as needed.

On the local futures market, December futures on three-year treasury bonds were unchanged as the strong third-quarter economic growth data offset the boost from the ECB's policy remarks.

REUTERS