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Seoul: Stocks end at record high on firm earnings, won flat

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares finished at a record high on Thursday as robust exports and upbeat corporate earnings attracted foreign investors while hopes for a economic stimulus grew as the presidential election approaches.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) closed up nearly 1 per cent at 2,241.24 points, it highest close ever.

Foreign investors purchased a net 361.4 billion won (S$445.23 million) worth of Kospi shares for the day.

The South Korean won was weaker after the US Federal Reserve kept rates unchanged at its May policy meeting but downplayed recent economic weakness, a sign it was still on track for two more rate rises this year.

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The won was quoted at 1,132.7 to the US dollar at the conclusion of onshore trade, down 0.2 per cent compared to Tuesday's close of 1,130.5.

For the week, the Kospi rose 1.6 per cent, marking a third straight week of gains while the won gained 0.5 per cent. The markets were opened only on Tuesday and Thursday this week.

South Korean markets will be closed on Friday due to national holiday.