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Seoul shares snap 6-day loss on China data, weaker won
* Samsung Elec up 3 pct, pares January loss
* Hyundai, Kia up more than 4 pct as won weakens
* KOGAS falls 4 pct on cheaper won
* Trading volume lowest since Nov. ahead of holiday
By Somang Yang
SEOUL, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Seoul shares climbed on Friday, snapping a six-day losing streak after strong data from China confirmed a recovery was gaining traction, as blue chips rebounded from their recent battering.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed up 1 percent at 1,950.90 points, rebounding from a 10-week low hit on Thursday.
"The data from China really buoyed the index. This was the boost the index needed for a rebound, which was long overdue considering KOSPI's current price-equity ratio," said Kim Young-joon, an analyst at SK Securities.
China said its exports in January grew 25.0 percent from a year earlier, the strongest showing since April 2011 and well ahead of market expectations for a 17 percent rise.
Blue chips rebounded from lows as risk sentiment recovered and the won weakened a further 0.7 percent against the dollar, inflating the repatriated profits of exporters.
Index heavyweight Samsung Electronics rallied 3 percent in late trade as investors snapped up the stock, which shed 4.9 percent of its value in January.
Hyundai Motor jumped 4.8 percent while sibling Kia Motor rose 4.4 percent.
"Hyundai and Kia shares have fallen to their book value, so their cheapness is a good reason to buy," said Chae Hee-geun, an analyst at Hyundai Securities.
However, the utilities sector slumped, falling 2 percent. State-owned Korea Gas Corp (KOGAS) tumbled 4.7 percent as a weaker won raises the cost of imported gas.
Overall, advancing shares outnumbered losers 490 to 313.
Trading volumes were low ahead of the holidays. Some 286 million shares changed hands on the main board, the lowest since Nov. 26.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was up 1.2 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.6 percent higher.
The market will be closed on Monday for the Lunar New Year and will reopen on Tuesday.
Move on day +0.99 percent
12-month high 2,057.28 14 March 2012
12-month low 1,769.31 25 July 2012
Change on yr -2.31 percent
All-time high 2,231.47 27 April 2011
All-time low 93.10 6 January 1981
(Additional reporting by Daum Kim and Seongwon Chang; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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