S.Korea stocks regain ground but capped before Fed; won eases

Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:43pm EDT

* KOSPI inches up, but headed for monthly decline
    * Won poised for biggest monthly gain since September

    SEOUL, April 30 (Reuters) - Seoul shares rose on Wednesday
morning after five days of losses, with risk appetite helped by
solid corporate earnings, though gains were capped as investors
cautiously awaited the outcome of a Federal Reserve meeting and
key U.S. data.
    The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up
0.2 percent at 1,968.36 points as of 0225 GMT, after a five-day
losing streak that knocked 2 percent off the index. The KOSPI is
down 0.9 percent in April.
    "Corporate earnings in general have been in line with
expectations. The upcoming U.S. event and data are likely to add
confidence in the world's largest economy, lifting the index
higher," said Shinhan Investment Corp analyst Han Beom-ho,
referring to the two-day Fed meeting that ends later on
Wednesday and U.S. nonfarm payroll data on Friday.
    "The index will attempt to settle at the psychologically
important 2,000 point in the near term."
    Better-than-expected January-March quarter earnings lifted
shares in SK Telecom Co Ltd and Shinhan Financial
Group Co Ltd, which gained 3.4 percent and 2
percent, respectively.
    But Ssangyong Motor Co Ltd and LG Electronics
Inc declined 4.3 percent and 2.7 percent,
respectively, as investors locked in profits from recent gains
following their upbeat results.
    In the foreign exchange market, the won slipped on
robust dollar demand from oil companies amid suspected
intervention by local foreign exchange authorities to curb the
pace of the won's appreciation, dealers said.
    The local currency was quoted at 1,031.4 against
the dollar as of 0225 GMT, down 0.1 percent from Tuesday's
onshore close at 1,030.6.
    The won, however, has risen 3.2 percent so far this month,
headed for its strongest monthly gain since a 3.3 percent rise
in September 2013.
    Seoul financial markets will be closed on May 1 due to
Labour Day and resume trading from May 2. 
    
                       0225 GMT    Prev close
 Dollar/won            1,031.4       1,030.6
 Yen/won           10.0683/762       10.0315
 *KTB futures           105.79        105.78
 KOSPI                1,968.36      1,964.77
 * Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds

 (Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Additional reporting by KyoungHo
Lee; Editing by Chris Gallagher)
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