Seoul shares rise as bullish foreigners snap up futures
* KOSPI rising after underperforming Asian peers in January
* Autos up, techs down; Hyundai Motor up 1.2 pct
SEOUL Feb 22 (Reuters) - Seoul shares rose on Friday morning, mirroring Asian peers as foreign investors backed their view of a further short-term rise on the main board by snapping up futures, triggering algorithmic trading buy orders.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ticked 0.4 percent higher at 2,024.0 points as of 0305 GMT, with the KOSPI 200 futures index up 0.6 percent at 270 won.
"There was concern that U.S. stocks' retreat in the previous session could dampen foreign investors' recent appetite for futures, but they seem to be maintaining the general view that the KOSPI will rise further," said Gong Jin-take, a derivatives analyst at Hyundai Securities.
Seoul shares' gain was mostly in line with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan, which rose 0.3 percent.
The KOSPI had decoupled from a global rise in risk markets in January, underperforming Asian peers' 2.5 percent rise by falling 3.4 percent during the month due to exacerbated concern over local exporters' outlooks from the weakening yen and strengthening won.
But as currency moves recently showed signs of slowing, South Korean shares have been racing to catch up by climbing 2.9 percent between Feb. 1 and Thursday.
Auto shares were on the rise, with Hyundai Motor trading up 1.2 percent. But tech shares fell, with heavyweight Samsung Electronics paring recent gains by falling 0.7 percent after shares had risen 7 percent between Feb. 1 and Thursday.
Declining shares outnumbered winners 444 to 340.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was up 0.5 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ rose 1 percent. (Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Eric Meijer)
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