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Seoul: Stocks edge up as Samsung Electronics hits record high

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares edged up early on Thursday as market heavyweight Samsung Electronics hit a record high after saying it would carefully review a restructuring proposal made by US hedge fund Elliott Management late Wednesday.

Elliott, an activist investor which owns 0.62 per cent of Samsung shares, proposed splitting Samsung into a holding company and an operating company and listing the latter on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was up 0.2 per cent at 2,056.85 points as of 0212 GMT, after touching its highest midday level since Septa. 29, 2016.

Shares of Samsung Electronics rose as much as 5 per cent in early trade.

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Kim Sung-h wan, a stock analyst at Boo kook Securities said that market expectations for Samsung Electronics' third-quarter earnings guidance, to be issued on Friday, were also boosting prices.

"Samsung Elect's rise seems to be the main driver for the Okapi's upward movement today while foreigners' stock trading volume overall remains low," added Mr Kim.

Other Samsung group shares also rose in the wake of Elliott's proposals, with Samsung CDT Corp up as much as 5.6 per cent to a high not seen in more than seven months and poised for its biggest daily per centage gain since mid-August.

Offshore investors were set to be net buyers, purchasing 46.2 billion Korean won (S$57 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 470 to 305.

The South Korean won also nudged up and stood at 1,110.2 against the US dollar, up 0.3 per cent versus Wednesday's close of 1,113.7.

December futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.01 point to 110.74.