Seoul shares rangebound on U.S. jitters, foreigners keep buying
* Foreigners poised to match longest net buying streak
* Rising shipbuilders, steelmakers underpin market
* Hanwha Corp climbs after ruling on chairman overturned
SEOUL, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Seoul shares held their ground in choppy trade on Thursday, with foreign buying helping offset jitters over fiscal uncertainty in the United States.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.04 percent at 1,998.91 by 0224 GMT, recovering from a session low of 1,991.10.
Investors are closely watching Washington, where Congress has to pass a spending bill to keep the government funded beyond Oct.1 and must also raise borrowing limits to avoid a debt default.
"Foreign inflows are balancing out the losses stemming from U.S. worries, but the current lacklustre momentum is seen continuing until China's PMI figures come out," said Tong Yang, a securities analyst at Lee Jae-mahn.
HSBC's final Chinese Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for September is due Monday, with the official manufacturing PMI expected on Tuesday.
Foreign investors positioned themselves as net-buyers, purchasing 82.4 billion won's ($76.49 million) worth of local shares. That kept them on track to extend their buying run to 22 consecutive sessions, matching the longest streak in the main index's history.
The South Korean government earlier in the day announced its 2014 fiscal spending plan, which was in line with market expectations.
Steelmakers halted a five session skid on bargain hunting, with Hyundai Steel Co and POSCO gaining 4.4 percent and 0.8 percent respectively.
Shipbuilders rose on the prospect of higher earnings in upcoming quarters, with Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd leading its peers with a 1.8-percent climb.
Hanwha Corp advanced 1.4 percent, beating the wider market, after South Korea's Supreme Court overturned a three-year jail sentence for the conglomerate's chairman for breach of trust and other charges.
Kia Motors Corp fell 2.1 percent after Wednesday's decision to recall 660,000 vehicles in Korea due to a faulty brake switch, while its auto-parts maker affiliate Hyundai Mobis Co Ltd dropped 3.1 percent.
Naver, South Korea's largest online portal operator, fell 1.4 percent on profit-taking following a 20.7 percent jump so far this month.
Gaining shares outnumbered decliners 440 to 346.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks edged 0.1 percent higher, while the junior KOSDAQ rose 0.8 percent. ($1 = 1077.2500 Korean won) (Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Joseph Radford)
- Google bus blocked in San Francisco gentrification protest
- Obama and Castro shake hands, Zuma humiliated at Mandela memorial |
- Thai PM urges protesters to take part in election |
- SEC votes to adopt Volcker rule to ban proprietary trading
- Reporter allowed to keep sources secret in Colorado theater shooting