[SEOUL] South Korean shares edged higher early on Tuesday on bargain-hunting but the upside appeared to be capped by caution ahead of the US Federal Reserve chair's impending speech and upcoming economic indicators.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.2 per cent at 1,985.87 points as of 0222 GMT, rebounding after four consecutive sessions of declines, although losses during the period were modest at a combined 0.7 per cent.
"There's a strong doubt that the market will expand gains further in the absence of a momentum strong enough to ride over the caution on the (US) monetary policy direction," said Lee Jae Man, an analyst at Hana Daetoo Securities.
Investors have held back while awaiting Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's speech later in the day, which they hope will clarify the timing of the US central bank's future policy adjustments.
Foreign investors were net buyers, taking about 45.1 billion won (S$53.2 million) worth of shares on Seoul's main board, turning from net sellers for the past two days.
Display maker LG Display Co Ltd broke three consecutive sessions of decline to post a 1.6 per cent increase to 25,350 won on hopes for resilient profits.
Heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co was almost flat at 1,295,000 won, up 0.1 per cent on the day, whereas Hyundai Motor was up 0.7 per cent at 155,000 won.
Gainers outnumbered losers 454 to 334.
The South Korean won rose slightly, up 0.3 per cent at 1,162.5 per US dollar, as the US unit came under pressure against the major currencies.
June three-year treasury bond futures gained 0.07 point to 110.35.