* Local institutions net buyers, support index
* Samsung Elec up 2.4 pct
* Defensives down; Korea Electric Power falls 1.7 pct
SEOUL, March 25 South Korean shares rose on
Monday after Cyprus and the European Union agreed a deal to
finance a rescue of the country, lifting risk appetite after the
main index closed last week at a five-week low.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI)
gained 1.4 percent at 1,976.48 points as of 0301 GMT.
"A bailout proposal for Cyprus somewhat allayed concerns
that came to the fore last week, while the won's rise against
the dollar decreased the outlook for a further rise by the won,"
said Han Beom-ho, an analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp.
On Monday, Cyprus clinched a last-ditch deal with
international lenders to shut down its second largest bank and
inflict heavy losses on uninsured depositors in return for a 10
billion euro ($13 billion) bailout.
The South Korean won rose early on Monday, in line
with other Asian assets and the euro after the news of the
Cyprus bailout deal.
Most blue-chips were up, with heavyweight Samsung
Electronics jumping 2.3 percent after losing ground
for three straight sessions.
Hyundai Motor also gained 0.9 percent near
mid-session, bolstering the index. Samsung and Hyundai Motor
together account for 21.1 percent of the KOSPI's market
However, investors offloaded some defensives such as
utilities and food processors. Korea Electric Power Corp
fell 1.7 percent, while snack maker Orion Corp
dropped 1.2 percent.
Local institutional investors purchased a net 114.8 billion
Korean won ($102.56 million) worth of KOSPI shares near
mid-session, lifting the index.
Advancing shares outnumbered decliners 532 to 246.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was up 1.6
percent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.3 percent
($1 = 1119.3500 Korean won)
(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Eric Meijer)