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Seoul: Stocks hit 2-week high as North Korea tensions ease, won edges up

[SEOUL] South Korean shares climbed to near a two-week high on Tuesday as tensions eased between the United States and North Korea, but gains were capped by caution ahead of the Federal Reserve's central banking conference later this week.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was up 0.4 per cent at 2,363.50 points as of 0232 GMT, its highest intraday level since August 10.

"The cautious mood ahead of Jackson Hole is offsetting the investment sentiment. Otherwise, the Kospi's rebound could have been bigger," said Cho Byung-Hyun, a stock analyst at Yuanta Securities.

Markets are looking for any clues on monetary policy from the gathering of global central bankers at the Fed's annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on August 24-26.

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Mr Cho added that the Kospi could return near to its previous peak in coming week.

Offshore investors were set to be small net sellers of local equities near mid-session while local institutions purchased a net 34.8 billion won (S$41.71 million) worth.

Advancers outnumbered decliners 405 to 364.

The sub-index for securities companies rose 1.5 per cent. Samsung Securities gained one per cent and NH Investment & Securities 2.1 per cent.

LG Chemical rose over 3 per cent as the analysts expected investors' demand for its batteries will remain robust in the next quarter.

The South Korean won edged up as the greenback remained wobbly.

The won stood at 1,136.0 to the US dollar, up 0.3 per cent compared to Monday's close of 1,139.0.

September futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 0.04 point to 109.08.

REUTERS