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South Korea: Stocks hit record high as Seoul, Beijing seek to mend relations, won jumps

[SEOUL] South Korean shares rose to a record high on Tuesday morning as sentiment got a boost from news Seoul and Beijing had agreed to normalise relations that were strained by a year-long standoff over the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea.

Samsung Electronics', the largest capitalised stock, barely reacted to robust September quarter earnings as the results were largely priced in.

As of 0325 GMT, the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was up 0.5 per cent at 2,514.96 points, its all-time intraday high.

"Shares that have long been pressured by ongoing political disputes between the two countries are reacting positively to the announcement, including Hyundai Motor-related stocks," said Cho Byung-hyun, a stock analyst at Yuanta Securities.

Market voices on:

South Korea and China have agreed to work swiftly to get their relations back on track, a South Korea's foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The installation of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) system had angered China and spilled over into trade, hurting South Korean business interests in the country.

In early trade in Seoul, Lotte Tour Development surged over 18 per cent to over six-year highs while Lotte Shopping Co Ltd jumped as much as 5.7 per cent.

Shares of Hyundai Motor rose nearly 2 per cent while those of Hyundai Mobis gained 5.7 per cent.

The market was also supported by offshore investors, who purchased a net 185.6 billion Korean won (S$225.3 million) worth of stock near mid-session.

The foreign demand for Kospi shares helped drive the South Korean won to over an eight-week high.

The won was quoted at 1,120.8 against the dollar, the strongest intraday level since Sept 1. It was up 0.3 per cent from Monday's close of 1,124.6.

December futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 0.01 point to 107.85.