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Seoul: Stocks edge up on upbeat chip industry outlook; US payrolls eyed

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South Korean shares inched up on Friday as chipmakers rose on upbeat outlook for the industry, but caution ahead of US payrolls capped gains. Meanwhile, the won rose nearly 1 per cent against the US dollar, while the benchmark bond yield fell.

[SEOUL] South Korean shares inched up on Friday as chipmakers rose on upbeat outlook for the industry, but caution ahead of US payrolls capped gains. Meanwhile, the won rose nearly 1 per cent against the US dollar, while the benchmark bond yield fell.

Falling semiconductor prices and the US-China trade war have bitten into profits at Samsung Electronics, but analysts expect earnings growth next year as chip prices turn around. Shares of Samsung Elec and SK Hynix gained 1.4 per cent and 1.8 per cent, respectively.

Optimism over chipmakers' third-quarter profits lifted their stocks and supported the broader markets, said Park Seok-hyun, an analyst at KTB Investment & Securities. The focus is on US job report after weak US manufacturing data, he added.

As of 0242 GMT, the KOSPI rose 2.79 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 2,034.70.

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The trading volume during the session in the KOSPI index was 188.40 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 887, the number of advancing shares was 246.

Shares of Ram Technology soared nearly 30 per cent to hit the intraday price limit on media reports that the company has supplied liquid hydrogen fluoride to SK Hynix.

The KOSPI has fallen 0.32 per cent so far this year, but gained 4.7 per cent in the previous 30 trading sessions.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.33 per cent, after US stocks climbed. Japanese stocks fell 0.18 per cent.

Foreigners were net sellers of 48.6 billion won (S$56 million) worth of shares on the main board.

The won was quoted at 1,195.7 per US dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.86 per cent higher than its previous close at 1,206.0. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,195.4 per US dollar, up 0.5 per cent from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,194.6 per dollar.

The won has lost 6.7 per cent against the US dollar so far this year.

In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.18 points to 110.99. The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 5.6 basis points to 1.248 per cent, while the benchmark 10-year yield fell by 6.6 basis points to 1.431 per cent.

REUTERS