Seoul shares touch a peak, then retreat on profit taking

Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:50pm EDT

* KOSPI hits highest level since Aug 2011

* Foreigners set to extend net buying streak to 39 days

* Apple's new iPad lifts LG Display, LG Innotek

SEOUL, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Seoul shares touched their highest point in nearly 27 months, but then retreated back below an index resistance level amid concerns the global economy remains sluggish.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.02 percent at 2,056.58 points at 0205 GMT. Early on, it hit 2,063.28, its highest intraday level since Aug. 4, 2011.

While the disappointing U.S. jobs report pushed up most markets, in anticipation that the U.S. Federal Reserve will not be able to taper its stimulus soon, in Korea the data didn't have a sustained impact.

Instead, the index remained unable to stay above 2,060, which has been the top level for more than two years.

"The main board is struggling to reach higher," said Lee Jae-hoon, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased by 148,000 in September, much less than economists' estimates of 180,000, indicating modest growth in the world's largest economy.

With a grim outlook for October U.S. jobs data due to a 16-day shutdown of the federal government, nine of 15 U.S. primary dealers surveyed by Reuters on Tuesday expect the Fed to begin tapering its $85 billion-a-month bond buying programme in March.

Meanwhile, a Reuters poll forecast that South Korea will report on Friday that gross domestic product (GDP) grew a seasonally adjusted 1 percent in July-September from the previous quarter.

Foreign investors were set for a 39th consecutive session of buying, picking up a modest 56.7 billion won ($53.45 million) of local shares in the morning.

Suppliers for Apple Inc's product lines rose after Apple launched a new high-end iPad product, with LG Display Co Ltd and LG Innotek Co Ltd gainung 2.4 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

Korea Zinc Inc advanced 3.6 percent on prospects of stronger earnings in July-September.

Hyundai Merchant Marine Co Ltd soared 13.5 percent on prospects of higher earnings and stable operations after announcing on Tuesday it had conducted a conversion issue worth 224 billion won.

Daelim Industrial Co Ltd dropped 4.6 percent, after it said its July-September operating profit declined 9.7 percent.

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