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Seoul: Stocks strengthen, gains capped by China worries

[SEOUL] South Korean shares strengthened to end at their highest in more than a week as tech and chemical stocks climbed on hopes of firm earnings in the third quarter.

Receding jitters over geopolitical risks in the Korean Peninsula also appeared to help the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) which closed up 0.7 per cent at 2,359.08 points.

The sub-index for electric and electronics shares gained 1.6 per cent while overall chemical shares rose 1.7 per cent for the day.

Meanwhile, further gains were capped by tensions between Seoul and Beijing over South Korea's deployment of a US anti-missile defence system against North Korean attacks.

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Local cosmetics-related companies, whose main export market is China, largely fell with Amorepacific down 2.1 per cent and Korea Kolmar down 3.4 per cent.

Offshore investors turned sellers and offloaded a net 136.3 billion won (S$162.48 million) of local equities.

The South Korean won extended its losses as the US dollar strengthened on global markets during the session.

The won was quoted at 1,131.9 to the US dollar at the end of onshore trade, down 0.4 per cent from Friday's close at 1,127.5.