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Seoul: Won rises to 4-wk high, stocks inch up on US jobs data

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won was set to rise against the dollar for a sixth straight session early on Monday as global investors snapped up risky assets after upbeat US jobs data over the weekend and a bounce in oil prices.

The won was up 0.3 per cent at 1,199.4 per dollar as of 0239 GMT compared to its previous onshore close of 1,203.4. It touched 1,196.8 early in the session, the won's strongest level since Feb. 11.

"The won is expected to stay just above 1,200 won as dollar-long positions are cut. The currency stands a chance of firming more if foreigners boost their stock purchases further,"said Park Sung-woo, an analyst at NH Futures.

Data late on Friday showed US employment gains surged in February, easing fears the economy may be heading into recession.

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The jobs data bolstered hopes for the South Korean economy as well, leading to demand for local equities.

South Korean shares edged up to a high not seen in more than two months on the U.S. data, but the gains were capped by some profit-taking.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.3 per cent at 1,960.62 points.

Foreigners net purchased 108.7 billion won (S$124.8 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, set to become net buyers for a seventh straight trading day.

Securities were up 3.4 per cent near midday, while shares in electricity and gas at down 2.6 per cent weighed on the bourse.

Shinhan Financial Group and KB Financial Group Inc were each trading up more than 2 per cent on local media reports late last Friday that the two plan to pay record end-2015 dividends.

March futures on three-year treasury bonds ticked up 0.01 points to trade at 110.10.

REUTERS

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