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Seoul: Stocks, won jump to multi-month highs; Park eclipsed

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 10:51

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares notched yet another intraday year-high early on Tuesday as investors' strong hopes of upbeat first-quarter earnings largely supported the main bourse.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was up 0.9 per cent at 2,177.04 points as of 0202 GMT, the highest since April 24, 2015.

Ousted South Korean President Park Geun-Hye appeared at prosecutors' offices for questioning as a criminal suspect in a widening corruption investigation, but her appearance barely affected the local markets.

"The market players are regarding the political scandal as a thing of the past now. Whatever comes out from Park's questioning will not affect markets anymore," said Kim Sung-Hwan, a stock analyst at Bookook Securities.

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He said the index was supported by optimism over March-quarter earnings and by hopes that the presidential election on May 9 will regenerate confidence in the political leadership.

Offshore investors were set to be net sellers, purchasing 121.2 billion Korean won (S$151.98 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session, buttressing the index.

Hyundai Motor Co shares rose as much as 5.4 per cent to their highest level since Nov 10, 2015, while the company's affiliates Kia Motors and Hyundai Mobis also climbed more than 3 per cent on cheap valuation and hopes of restructuring.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones 420 to 364.

The South Korean won gained for five consecutive sessions to stand at an over five-month high as Federal Reserve officials' comments, perceived as less hawkish, weighed on the greenback.

The won was quoted at 1,116.0 against the US dollar, up 0.4 per cent compared to Monday's close of 1,120.1. It was the strongest since Oct 11, 2016.

March futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.05 point to 109.71.

REUTERS

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