Seoul shares track Wall St. higher, foreign net-selling persists

Tue Feb 4, 2014 9:27pm EST

* Foreign net selling continues, total 2.7 til won on Tue.

* Hyundai Motor rise, Hotel Shilla at all time high

* Daewoong Pharm hit by weak 4Q earnings

SEOUL, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Bargain hunters lifted Seoul shares from a 5-1/2 month low on Wednesday morning, tracking a lead from Wall Street but sentiment remained fragile as concerns about the global growth outlook persisted.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.5 percent at 1,896.44 points as of 0221 GMT. The KOSPI had retreated 2.8 percent in the past two sessions to position at the lowest level not seen since Aug. 28.

Wall Street rebounded on Tuesday, easing safe-haven plays such as the yen and U.S. Treasuries as risk aversion retreated.

Analysts said the bargain hunting recovery followed better U.S. economic data, noting worries about the U.S. economy had taken more of a toll than emerging market fears, and still named Friday's U.S. non-farm payrolls as a key market focus.

"The talk about differentiation among emerging markets and strong economic growth for South Korea will only hold true under the backing of a strong U.S. economy," said Mirae Asset Securities analyst Lee Jae-hun.

Lee added that European Central Bank (ECB) meeting on Thursday may bring cheer to riskier assets as hopes rise of more accommodative policy measures to address deflation concerns as well as pepping up Europe's weak recovery.

Although offshore investors net sold 116 billion won ($107 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, advancers outnumbered decliners 514 to 243 on the back of net purchases by retail and institutional investors. Foreigners had offloaded a net 2.7 trillion won of shares this year by Tuesday.

South Korea's foreign exchange reserves hit a new peak for the seventh straight month in January, central bank data showed on Wednesday, reaffirming the country's relatively firm ground compared to other emerging markets.

Automaker Hyundai Motor Co rose 2 percent following a 3.7 percent skid in the previous two sessions while also being supported by upbeat January sales in the U.S. market.

Autoparts maker and affiliate Hyundai Mobis Co Ltd added 4.4 percent.

Hotel Shilla Co Ltd, an affiliate of Samsung Group rose 2.9 percent to a lifetime high on rosy earnings outlook this year, as it secured rights in early January to operate perfume and cosmetics stores at Singapore's Changi Airport.

Lacklustre October-December quarter earnings sent Daewoong Pharmaceutical Co Ltd down 5.7 percent after a regulatory filing on Tuesday said its operating profit declined 23.2 percent from a year earlier.

The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks and the junior KOSDAQ both edged up 0.5 percent, respectively. ($1 = 1083.8000 Korean won) (Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Eric Meijer)