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Seoul: Won, stocks up slightly eyeing US Fed decision

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won and shares rose marginally early on Wednesday as mixed US economic data revived market jitters about the Federal Reserve's next monetary policy decision.

The won was quoted at 1,190.5 to the US dollar as of 0245 GMT, up 0.1 per cent compared with Tuesday's close of 1,191.7.

US consumer spending recorded its biggest increase in more than six years in April, positive enough to persuade the Fed to raise interest rates soon.

"However, other economic results from the US pointed in different directions, which is making it hard for the won to make a significant move for now," said Jung Sung Yoon, a foreign exchange analyst at Hyundai Futures.

The won may fluctuate again on Thursday after US jobs data is released, Mr Jung added.

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Activity in China's manufacturing sector unexpectedly expanded for the third straight month in May but growth remained weak as orders softened, suggesting the world's second-largest economy - South Korea's biggest trading partner - is still struggling to regain traction.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 0.1 per cent to 1,984.63.

Offshore investors were poised to be buyers, purchasing a net 93.9 billion Korean won (S$108.82 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session.

Shares in top web portal Naver Corp fell to a near five-week low on news its messenger app Line Corp would be listed in the Japanese stock market in July at a reported valuation that is smaller than some earlier expectations.

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co Ltd gained 3 per cent.

Decliners and advancers were almost even at 405 to 382.

June futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.19 points to 110.36 after the Bank of Korea's May minutes were released the previous day. One of the board members said that the BOK's interest rates should be lowered soon to support economic growth.


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