* KOSPI modestly higher on options expiry day
* Samsung SDI's IPO news lifts Samsung C&T
* Won eases on dollar short-covering in intervention caution
SEOUL, May 8 Seoul shares edged up on Thursday
morning after an eight-day slump, with a rally in information
technology firms countering foreign capital outflows along with
programme selling on options expiry day.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up
0.2 percent at 1,942.71 points as of 0238 GMT. The index fell
for an eighth consecutive day on Wednesday, the longest
downtrend since a nine-day decline in early September, 2000.
"A large number of option contracts have been already
settled on spot and futures markets coming into the month and
thus somewhat priced into shares. The market's biggest concern
is the won's rapid rise, which has bolstered the needs of
foreign investors to lock in profits at an earlier stage," said
Kim Yong-goo, an analyst at Samsung Securities.
In programme trading, the market saw net selling of 168.2
billion won ($164.5 million) via arbitrage and non-arbitrage
transactions, while foreign investors offloaded 100 billion won
worth of KOSPI shares in floor trade near mid-session.
By midday, information technology firms were in the
spotlight. The bullish January-March quarter earnings results
lifted IT service provider SK C&C Co Ltd, jumping
4.6 percent as its operating profit increased 42.7 percent from
a year earlier.
Samsung SDS Co Ltd, the IT solutions affiliate of Samsung
Group on Thursday said it plans an initial public
offering this year, lifting its shareholder Samsung C&T Corp
Samsung C&T is the second-biggest shareholder of SDS with a
17.08 percent stake, only behind Samsung Electronics Co Ltd
which holds 22.58 percent. Samsung Electronics edged
up 0.6 percent.
China's better-than-expected April exports data underpinned
market sentiment, with exports growing 0.9 percent compared with
expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.7 percent fall.
In the foreign exchange market, the won eased as
investors covered short position on the dollar while wary of
possible intervention by the local foreign exchange authorities
to curb the pace of won appreciation.
The local currency was quoted at 1,023.9 versus
the dollar as of 0238 GMT, down 0.1 percent from Wednesday's
onshore close at 1,022.5.
Wednesday's close was the strongest since Aug. 6, 2008.
June futures on three-year treasury bonds was up 0.06
points at 105.96.
0238 GMT Prev close
Dollar/won 1,023.9 1,022.5
Yen/won 10.0461/550 10.0304
*KTB futures 105.96 105.90
KOSPI 1,942.71 1,939.88
* Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds
($1 = 1022.5500 Korean Won)
(Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)