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Seoul: Shares edge up on bargain-hunting; won nearly flat


[SEOUL] South Korean shares edged up on Tuesday morning, supported by bargain hunters and hopes China will take a more aggressive approach in overseeing financial markets, soothing investor anxiety.

However, broad risk-off sentiment prompted offshore investors to exit the market, selling a net 111.5 billion Korean won (S$132 million) worth of Kospi shares by midday.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was up 0.3 per cent at 1,899.83 points as of 0227 GMT, after rising as much as 0.8 per cent to 1,910.59.

"Investors' relief came as a result of the Chinese central bank's policy measures to stabilise the yuan and volatile stock markets, though investors are still sceptical about the effects," said Park Seok-hyun, a stock analyst at Eugene Investment & Securities.

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Market participants will be watching China's trade data closely on Wednesday, which is expected to show further declines in both exports and imports.

Commodity-linked counters such as energy shares edged higher, as investors bought after heavy recent losses inflicted by falling oil prices.

SK Innovation Co Ltd, South Korea's largest refiner, gained 4.4 per cent and S-Oil Corp rose 2.1 per cent.

Shares of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd were up 0.3 per cent and LG Electronics Co Ltd advanced 2.2 per cent.

The South Korean won was quoted at 1,208.2 to the dollar, up 0.1 per cent compared to the 5-1/2 year closing low of 1,209.8 seen at the end of Monday's session.

March futures on three-year treasury bonds were quoted at 109.74, unchanged from the previous close.

South Korea's central bank will hold a monthly policy meeting on Thursday, and is widely expected to leave its key interest rate unchanged.