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South Korean shares touch near 4-yr high on fund inflows; won falls

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South Korean shares edged up to a near four-year high at midday on Monday on hopes global funds will continue to flow into emerging markets, with brokerages leading the gains.

[SEOUL] South Korean shares edged up to a near four-year high at midday on Monday on hopes global funds will continue to flow into emerging markets, with brokerages leading the gains.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.1 per cent at 2,090.42 points as of 0240 GMT after briefly touching 2,095.75 points, its highest intraday level since August 2, 2011.

"Emerging markets will likely continue to enjoy fund inflows as the global liquidity will remain ample for the time being," said Han Yo-seop, an analyst at KDB Daewoo Securities.

Foreign investor interest in South Korean equities remained strong, with a net purchases worth 145 billion won (S$180 million) by midday, extending their buying spree into a fifth consecutive session.

Brokerage shares were up more than 4 per cent, with Golden Bridge Investment and Securities Co Ltd jumping 14 per cent and Hanyang Securities Co Ltd 13 per cent.

Hotel Shilla Co Ltd and Hyundai Development Co Engineering and Construction soared after local media reported on Sunday that Hyundai announced a plan to open a new duty-free store in Seoul together with Shilla. Shilla rose by 15 per cent and Hyundai 13 per cent.

The South Korean won was on track for a fifth day of losses as the dollar firmed globally and as local companies including Samsung Electronics are expected to pay year-end dividends to foreign investors during Monday, estimated by traders at more than US$1 billion.

The won was off 0.3 per cent at 1,095.5 per dollar from the previous close at 1,092.7.

June futures on three-year treasury bonds were down 0.03 point at 109.46 as of 0240 GMT.

REUTERS