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South Korea: Stocks up but capped by incidents in Berlin, Ankara; won weaker


[SEOUL] South Korean shares edged up early on Tuesday on Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's optimistic comments over the US job market, but gains were capped by deadly incidents in Germany and Turkey.

A truck ploughed into a crowded Christmas market in central Berlin on Monday evening, killing 12 people and injuring 48 others while the Russian ambassador to Turkey was shot dead as he gave a speech at an Ankara art gallery.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.2 per cent at 2,042.70 points as of 0216 GMT.

"The KOSPI may strengthen a bit more if some improvements are seen in exports data for December," said Cho Byung-hyun, a stock analyst at Yuanta Securities.

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South Korea's trade minister Joo Hyung Hwan said on Monday he sees exports rising more than 2 per cent in 2017, and are expected to post their first quarterly rise in two years in the October-December period.

Offshore investors were set to be net buyers, purchasing 19.1 billion Korean won (S$23.2 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session.

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics rose more than 1 per cent, touching a record high of 1,818,000 won ahead of its dividend payment, which will be on December 28. Web portal Naver Corp lost 1.5 per cent.

Decliners slightly outnumbered advancers by 391 to 374.

The South Korean won was set to mark its fifth straight losing session on the dollar's continuing gains.

The won stood at 1.191.7, down 0.4 per cent compared with Monday's close of 1,186.9.