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South Korea: Stocks rise on oil bounce, but China, Fed cap; won up


[SEOUL] South Korean shares rose on Wednesday in line with the now familiar flip-flop in oil which bounced overnight and propped up Wall Street, though gains were capped by fickle Chinese markets and ahead of a policy decision by the Federal Reserve later in the day.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.7 per cent at 1,1884.61 points as of 0213 GMT after rising as much as 1.6 per cent earlier.

"There's still a lack of strong upward momentum in the share market because of the prevailing external and internal uncertainties," said Lee Juny, a stock analyst at NH Investment and Securities.

"It'd be good for investors to increase their interest in private consumption-related shares from a mid-to-long term stance." Investors remain focused on whether the Fed will stay committed to raising rates amid the backdrop of slackening global growth and financial markets volatility. The Fed decision is due later in the global day.

Risk appetite was also checked by struggling Chinese stocks, which plunged on Tuesday, and were down in morning trade.

Retail investors snapped up 317.2 billion won (S$377 million) worth of shares shortly after the market's open, while foreign selling amounted to 188.7 billion won, on track to become net sellers of South Korean shares for a 15th straight session.

Shares in LG Display Co Ltd were up around 5 per cent after the world's top liquid crystal display maker announced it would invest US$380 million in large OLED panel production despite reporting 90 per cent on-year tumble in fourth-quarter operating profit.

LG Electronics Inc was up 3 per cent after it booked a 27 per cent jump in fourth-quarter operating profit as consumers snapped up its high margin televisions and premium washing machines.

The South Korean won was up 0.3 per cent on the dollar near midday, boosted by local stocks and the bounce in oil prices.

Gains were limited, however, as some investors were sidelined ahead of the results of the Fed's policy meeting.

The local currency was quoted at 1,201.2 against the dollar, compared to its previous onshore close of 1,204.2.

March futures on three-year treasury bonds were down 0.05 points to 109.77, pressured by the gain in equities.