Seoul shares edge up as foreign funds buy tech, shipbuilders

Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:40pm EDT

(Updates to mid-morning)

* Tech, shipbuilding shares rally on foreign inflows

* Hyundai Motor volatile as union set for partial strike

By Jungmin Jang

SEOUL, Aug 20 (Reuters) - South Korea shares rebounded after a weak start on Tuesday as foreign buying of technology firms and shipbuilders lifted the market, offsetting early weakness in automaker Hyundai Motor Co.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 0.3 percent to 1,922.74 points as of 0200 GMT, rebounding from an intraday low of 1,909.08.

"Continuing foreign inflows stem from the market's firm fundamentals, which stand out from the rest of the emerging markets," said SK Securities analyst Ko Seung-hee, adding that rising optimism over a recovery in the euro zone had also been a factor in foreign investor demand.

Foreign investors were net buyers of 68.4 billion won ($61.32 million) worth of local stocks on Tuesday morning.

Ko added that the market faces downside risks in the coming days from external factors such as the release of the U.S. Federal Reserve's July meeting minutes on Wednesday. Any hints of an imminent tapering of stimulus would be a drag, he said.

Technology shares rose, with memory chipmaker SK Hynix Inc up 1.8 percent and market heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co Ltd gaining 1.3 percent.

Shipyards Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Co and Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd advanced 3.1 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, on expectations of stronger earnings as the euro zone economy shows signs of life.

Hyundai Motor's shares were volatile as South Korean workers prepare to stage a partial strike for two days starting on Tuesday. Hyundai was up 0.2 percent after falling 1.5 percent earlier. The shares of its affilate, Kia Motors Corp , also moved in and out of positive and negative terrain.

Steelmakers Hyundai Steel Co and POSCO , the third largest company in the index by market capitalisation, fell 1.3 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively, giving up some of their recent gains.

Decliners outnumbered gainers 464 to 282.

The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks rose 0.3 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.1 percent higher.

($1 = 1115.5500 Korean won) (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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