Seoul shares edge up after strong China export data

Wed Jan 9, 2013 9:52pm EST

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* KEPCO up 3.2 pct after electricity price increase

* Ssangyong Motor rises 15 pct after Mahindra investment

SEOUL Jan 10 (Reuters) - Seoul shares rose after trading flatly on Thursday morning, lifted by bullish trade data from China showing recovering demand from the world's second-largest economy.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ticked 0.56 percent higher to 2,003.0 points as of 0235 GMT, after treading water for most of the morning.

"In the absence of market-moving news and trading flow somewhat stemmed by investors exercising caution on options expiry date, data from China buoyed the main index near mid-session," said Lim Dong-rak, an analyst at Hanyang Securities.

China's exports in December grew 14.1 percent from a year earlier to hit a seven-month peak, data showed on Thursday, rebounding from three-month lows and racing past market expectations for a 4 percent rise.

Blue-chips were mixed, with Samsung Electronics up 1.5 percent after falling 4.8 percent in five sessions as of Wednesday.

State-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) rose 3.2 percent near the mid-session after South Korea announced it will raise electricity prices by an average 4 percent from next week to reduce power demand and help KEPCO cut losses.

Shares in Ssangyong Motor rose by the daily trading limit of 15 percent after the automotive president of parent company Mahindra & Mahindra said Mahindra would invest $900 million over the next four years in products to be developed jointly with Ssangyong.

Local retail and foreign investors purchased a net 80 billion won ($75.36 million) worth of KOSPI shares near the mid-session, lifting the index.

Gaining shares outnumbered decliners 413 to 339.

The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was up 0.6 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.3 percent higher.

($1 = 1061.6250 Korean won) (Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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