* Samsung Elec up 2.6 pct after record Q1 profit
* Laggard sectors gain to snap multi-day losing spell
* S&P downgrades Spain, impact minimal but risks felt
By Joonhee Yu
SEOUL, April 27 Seoul shares rose on Friday
morning, backed by a rally in large-caps led by Samsung
Electronics and a recovery in recent laggards, but
gains were capped on persistent fears over the euro zone debt
crisis after S&P cut Spain's credit rating.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up
0.46 percent at 1,973.12 points as of 0305 GMT.
"S&P's rate action on Spain had little direct impact as it
was long foreseen and priced in accordingly, but it is an
important reminder of a crisis that seems to be becoming a
constant source of worry," said Bae Sung-yung, an analyst at
Standard & Poor's on Thursday cut its credit rating on Spain
by two notches, citing expectations that government finances
will deteriorate even more than previously thought due to a
contracting economy and an ailing banking sector.
The main bourse was lifted by index heavyweight Samsung
Electronics, which jumped 2.6 percent to an all-time
intraday high after the company announced a record $5.15 billion
first-quarter profit before the market opened.
Samsung Electronics' total market capitalisation exceeded
200 trillion won ($176 billion) for the first time on Friday,
which accounts for a hefty 17.6 percent of the total value of
all KOSPI-listed shares.
Among other techs, chipmaker SK Hynix advanced
3.7 percent while Samsung SDI rallied 5.7 percent to
Investors also found bargains in recent underperformers,
particularly cyclicals. Samsung Engineering rose 2.6
percent while Hyundai Mipo Dockyard climbed 3.4
percent to lead the construction and shipbuilding sectors,
The builders subindex looked poised to snap a
six-day slide after tumbling 12.7 percent so far in April.
Samsung C&T Corp shares rose 4.2 percent after
the builder's first-quarter earnings showed a 26.4 percent gain
in sales and a 4.9 percent increase in profits compared with a
Market sentiment got a boost after U.S. stocks rose for a
third day following upbeat housing data and
stronger-than-expected corporate results.
Offshore investors were seen making strong bids for the
second day running after an extended selling spree earlier in
the month, with foreigners having snapped up a net 158.8 billion
won ($139.8 million) worth of shares so far as of 0305 GMT.
($1 = 1136.3000 Korean won)
(Reporting by Joonhee Yu; Editing by Chris Gallagher)