Seoul shares rebound as exporters bullish on firmer yen

Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:54pm EST

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SEOUL, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Seoul shares rose Wednesday morning as a pause in yen weakness lent support amid thin trade with investors waiting for upcoming events such as the Group of 20 finance ministers' meeting and the Bank of Korea's rate decision.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 1.1 percent at 1,966.65 points as of 0236 GMT, a six-session high.

"The main board's rebound was driven by a break in the yen's weakness, following signs that the won's strength has abated somewhat," said Lim Dong-rak, an analyst at Hanyang Securities.

The yen was firmer against the dollar on Wednesday as investors looked to the Group of 20 finance ministers' meeting starting Friday for definitive clues on the international stance toward the Japanese government's drastic monetary expansion that sent the yen into a steady decline.

Sharp declines in the yen and a strong won dragged on South Korean large-caps throughout January as the currency moves increased the value of overseas earnings for Japanese rivals and made them more price competitive.

Most sectors were bullish near mid-session, led by oil and chemical shares as well as steelmakers. Oil refiner SK Innovation rose 3.8 percent while POSCO was up 1 percent.

Index heavyweight Samsung Electronics rose 0.5 percent, extending a two-day winning streak after dipping into negative territory earlier in the session.

Some defensives were soft, with retailer Lotte Shopping down 0.5 percent while food processor CJ Cheiljedang fell 0.4 percent.

Foreign investors snapped up shares for the fourth session, purchasing a net 101 billion won ($92.60 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session.

Advancing shares outnumbered decliners 547 to 236. The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was up 1.2 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ gained 0.9 percent.

($1 = 1090.7250 Korean won)

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Matt Driskill)

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