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Seoul: Stocks at fresh high on foreign demand boost; won strengthens

[SEOUL] South Korean shares edged up to a fresh record high close on Monday in spite of profit-taking by local institutions, thanks to hefty demand from foreign investors.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed up 0.2 per cent to 2,501.93 points.

Offshore investors added a net 253.1 billion won (S$307.4 million) worth of KOSPI shares to their portfolios, while domestic institutions sold 522 billion won worth.

Shares of Lotte Corp, a new holding company for South Korea's No 5 conglomerate, ended their first day of trading up 10 per cent, bolstered by hopes for better corporate governance and shareholder returns.

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The South Korean won gained strength as the US dollar slumped on speculation that Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell, considered less hawkish than another candidate, could be the next Fed chair.

The won was quoted at 1,124.6 to the US dollar at the conclusion of onshore trade, up 0.5 per cent versus Friday's close of 1,130.5.