Seoul: Stocks, won boosted by positive earnings and econ data

[SEOUL] South Korean shares and the won were buoyed by returning risk appetite on positive earnings results and economic data that soothed concerns over the health of the global economy.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.3 per cent at 1,932.03 points as of 0200 GMT while the local currency was up half a percent at 1,052.1 against the dollar.

"The KOSPI is likely to try to firmly rebound this week as sentiment is expected to keep improving. Whether it will be able to move safely above the 1,940 level will be closely watched,"said Lee Kyung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities.

US data released late on Friday showed sales of new US homes rose to a six-year high in September while third-quarter GDP growth in Britain remained above the country's long-run average and on track to outpace other advanced economies this year.

Investors also took heart in positive earnings results from blue chips Microsoft and Proctor & Gamble, which propped up US stocks to close out their best week in nearly two years on Friday.

Market participants will now look towards Wednesday, when the US Federal Reserve's two-day meeting this week ends and where it is likely to announce the end of its bond-buying programme.

Shares of Samsung Heavy and Samsung Engineering both gained more than 3 per cent after it was announced shareholders approved the merger of the two companies.

Foreign investors purchased a net 26.7 billion Korean won (US$25.38 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, propping up the index.

The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was up 0.4 per cent, while the junior KOSDAQ was nearly flat up 0.1 per cent.

December futures on three-year treasury bonds ticked down 0.01 points to trade at 107.89.


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