South Korea shares end near 4-week high; Samsung Elec gains
* KOSPI snaps 2-day loss, lifted by Fed hope
* Samsung Elec up 3 pct ahead of Apple's iPhone unveiling
By Hyunjoo Jin
SEOUL, Sept 12 (Reuters) - South Korea's benchmark stock index closed at its highest level in nearly four weeks on Wednesday, with Samsung Electronics up 3 percent despite Apple's planned unveiling of its new iPhone.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) finished up 1.6 percent at 1,950.03 points, its best close since Aug.16, ending two days of losses.
Continued foreign buying and resumed institutional buying lent support to the market.
Investors are counting on Germany's top court to approve the euro zone's new bailout fund on Wednesday to lend support to the troubled region, which could help stabilise its slumping demand for Asian exports.
Optimism is also building that the Federal Reserve will again ease monetary conditions during its two-day meeting that starts on Wednesday to prop up the economy.
"Investors are betting on the Fed's third round of quantitative easing following the weak jobs data," Kim Joo-hyung, an analyst at Tong Yang Securities, said.
Shares in Samsung Electronics also ended at their highest closing level in nearly four weeks.
Apple will try to close its gap with rivals on Wednesday with the unveiling of the new iPhone 5, but it remains to be seen if Chief Executive Tim Cook will show off any technological breakthroughs that can put the iPhone 5 head and shoulders above the competition.
"The iPhone 5 may fail to live up to expectations, and lack innovations," Kim Hyoung-sik, an analyst at Taurus Investment & Securities.
Europe-sensitive shipbuilders were among the best performers, with Hyundai Heavy Industries rallying 3.4 percent and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering gaining 2.4 percent.
Move on day +1.56 percent
12-month high 2,057.28 14 March 2012
12-month low 1,644.11 26 Sept 2011
Change on yr +6.81 percent
All-time high 2,231.47 27 April 2011
All-time low 93.10 6 January 1981 (Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Kim Coghill)
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