Seoul shares climb on hopes for rate cut, first gain in 5 days
* BOK expected to cut rates, a Reuters poll shows
* Techs lead, LG ELec up 3.3 pct on smartphone hopes
* Kaesong-related stocks tumble as production halts
By Somang Yang
SEOUL, April 9 (Reuters) - South Korean shares edged higher on Tuesday, with hopes that the country's central bank would cut interest rates helping the market find a floor after four days of losses on tensions with North Korea and a sharp decline in the yen.
A Reuters survey showed 18 of 22 analysts forecast the Bank of Korea would lower its benchmark policy rate by 25 basis points to 2.50 percent at a rate meeting on April 11, its first easing in six months.
"The (upcoming) rate decision by the Bank of Korea is giving the market lift," said Park Seong-hoon, an analyst at Woori Securities.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ended 0.1 percent higher at 1,920.74 points, pulling back from a 4-1/2 month low marked earlier in the day.
The higher close came despite a warning from North Korea for foreigners in the South to evacuate and its withdrawal of workers from an industrial zone jointly operated with the South.
Techs led the index's gains, with LG Electronics surging 3.3 percent on an improving outlook for its smartphones.
Kia Motors climbed 1.8 percent although this was not enough to recover from the previous week's losses following a large recall.
Stocks of companies with production in Kaesong fell sharply. Apparel-maker In the F fell 7.5 percent.
Overall, 295 shares advanced while 510 declined.
Foreigners were net sellers for a fifth day on the Seoul stock market, though this was offset by buying from local institutions.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was up 0.06 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.12 percent lower.
Move on day +0.11 percent
12-month high 2,049.28 3 April 2012
12-month low 1,769.31 25 July 2012
Change on yr -3.82 percent
All-time high 2,231.47 27 April 2011
All-time low 93.10 6 January 1981 (Editing by Edwina Gibbs)
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