S.Korea stocks edge up; gains capped as won's rise hits carmakers
* Steelmakers lead market rise, heavyweight exporters weigh
* Won rises to near 6-yr high, poses concern for exporters
SEOUL, April 9 (Reuters) - Seoul shares inched up on Wednesday as steelmakers rallied on hopes of an improving Chinese economy, but a sharp rise in the won dragged down shares of automakers, weighing on the broader market.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.1 percent at 1,995.08 points as of 0245 GMT after touching an intraday high of 2,001.15, briefly trading above the psychologically important 2,000-point level.
"The International Monetary Fund maintained its outlook for China's economic growth, providing merit in picking up China-related stocks in steel and chemicals, while automakers suffered from a sharp appreciation in the local currency," said Tong Yang Securities analyst Cho Byung-hyun.
Steelmakers rose sharply on prospects of increased earnings after Beijing acted to stimulate its economy last week and as the IMF held its growth forecast for China at 7.5 percent on Tuesday. China is the largest export market for South Korea.
POSCO advanced 4.1 percent and Dongkuk Steel Mill Co Ltd jumped 3.6 percent.
But an over 1 percent jump in the won to a near six-year against the dollar roughed up shares of exporters on concern the currency's strength would erode their competitiveness overseas.
Automaker Hyundai Motor Co, the second-largest KOSPI component, dropped 2.8 percent, while affiliate Kia Motors Corp declined 3 percent.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd fell 1.9 percent.
Offshore investors bought a net 205.6 billion won ($195 million) worth of KOSPI shares by late morning, headed for their 11th straight day of net buying.
June futures on three-year treasury bonds ticked up 0.09 point to 105.82.
0245 GMT Prev close Dollar/won 1,041.9 1,052.2 Yen/won 10.2228/287 10.3309 *KTB futures 105.82 105.73 KOSPI 1,995.08 1,993.03 * Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds
($1 = 1052.3500 Korean Won) (Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Chris Gallagher)
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