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Seoul: Stocks cheered by strong exports data, won edges up


[SEOUL] South Korean shares rose sharply early on Tuesday as robust exports data brightened overall investment sentiment, reinforcing signs of a steady recovery for Asia's fourth-largest economy.

Exports in July marked their longest stretch of expansion in five and a half years, led by shipments of memory chips and electronic storage devices.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was up 1.1 per cent at 2,428.44 points as of 0200 GMT. The benchmark index capped eight straight months in the black in July, the longest stretch of gains thanks to improving corporate earnings, robust exports and a brighter outlook for the global economy.

"The Seoul bourse reacts very sensitively to the exports data as they are one of the main drivers for the KOSPI's rally this year," said Seo Sang-Young, a stock analyst at Kiwoom Securities.

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Mr Seo added that though foreign investors are currently net sellers of local equities, they are coming back in to purchase shares of companies in the securities and the chemical sectors.

Offshore investors net sold 28.8 billion Korean won (S$34.94 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.

The sub-index for securities companies gained 2.3 per cent with Samsung Securities up nearly 2 per cent and Kyobo Securities up 3.8 per cent.

The chemical sub-index rose 1.4 per cent while Lotte Fine Chemical climbed nearly 4 per cent.

Advancing issues far outnumbered decliners 628 to 168.

The South Korean won edged up as the US dollar lost ground, pressured by US political turmoil and doubts about whether there will be another Federal Reserve rate hike this year.

The won was quoted at 1,116.7 to the US dollar, up 0.2 per cent compared to Monday's close of 1,119.0.

September futures on three-year treasury bonds lost 0.05 point to 109.30.