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Seoul: Stocks notch record high

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares hit record highs on Tuesday as domestic institutions stepped up buying, though investors were cautious in case minutes of the US.

Federal Reserve's last policy meeting raise the possibility of a near term hike in US interest rates .

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 0.9 per cent to a record 2,323.71 points as of 0334 GMT.

The Fed minutes will be released on Wednesday.

Market voices on:

"Market participants are wondering whether the minutes would change the possibility of a Fed June rate hike as US first-quarter GDP was weaker than forecasts," said Kim Sung-hwan, a stock analyst at Bookook Securities.

Mr Kim expected South Korean stocks would extend their gains for some time.

Domestic institutions were set to be net buyers, purchasing US$179.82 million worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, while offshore investors were marginally net sellers.

Shares of Netmarble Games rebounded over 2 percent on bargin hunting after three sessions of losses.

S-Oil rose nearly 3 per cent and SK Innovation 1.8 per cent on global oil price rise.

Advancers outnumbered decliners 513 to 275.

Meanwhile, the won weakened as investors' appetite for safe-haven assets grew following a suspected terrorist attak killed at least 19 people in the English city of Manchester.

The won stood at 1,121.7 against the dollar, down 0.3 per cent compared to Monday's close of 1,118.6.

June futures on three-year treasury bonds lost 0.01 point to 109.43.