Seoul shares touch 12-week high, eye best week in 7 months

Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:34pm EDT

Related Topics

* KOSPI edges up, in line with regional markets

* Foreigners turn into buyers, underpin market

* POSCO drops on media reports about tax

By Jungmin Jang

SEOUL, March 28 (Reuters) - Seoul shares edged up to their strongest level in 12 weeks on Friday morning, reversing earlier losses as foreigners changed to become net buyers.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.3 percent at 1,984.39 points by 0205 GMT after hitting an intraday high of 1,985.50, the highest level since Jan. 3.

The KOSPI was on track for a third straight winning session and the strongest weekly gain since the end of August.

Hyundai Securities analyst Bae Sung-young said that some stocks in emerging markets such as South Korea are "performing well while relatively expensive developed markets continue to tread water."

Bae added that China's stimulus hopes needs to materialize and the local market needs to further illustrate it can withstand upcoming stimulus winding by the U.S. Federal Reserve to attract foreign capital.

Foreign investors had purchased a net 42.4 billion won ($39.6 million) of local shares by mid-day.

Advancers outnumbered decliners 462 to 294, with brokerage shares outshining others.

The Korea Exchange (KRX) Securities Equity Index rose 1.6 percent, led by Mirae Asset Securities Co Ltd and Meritz Securities Co Ltd, up 2.9 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively.

Steelmaker POSCO fell 2.8 percent after a local media report said the company may face a fine of around 350 billion won by tax authorities. A POSCO spokesman declined to comment, saying a tax probe is still under way.

Media reports that POSCO may consider buying some steel and energy assets of Dongbu conglomerate also weighed on shares. The POSCO spokesman said the company was offered assets, but nothing has been decided.

Dongbu Steel Co Ltd soared 10.7 percent.

The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was up 0.3 percent, while the tech-heavy junior KOSDAQ edged 0.4 percent higher. ($1 = 1071.5000 Korean Won) (Additional reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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