* Samsung Electronics gains 2.7 pct
* Hyundai Motor up 4 pct after steep decline
* Defensive plays lose ground; banking, utilities down
By Joyce Lee
SEOUL, Jan 29 South Korean shares rose on
Tuesday on institutional bargain-hunting, with the auto and tech
sectors gaining strongly after steep declines that were driven
by a firmer won currency.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained
0.8 percent to close at 1,955.96 points, snapping four straight
days of losses.
"Demand flocked to sectors with recent steep declines such
as autos and tech, after the won weakened drastically against
the dollar on Monday, improving investor sentiment concerning
exporters," said Jang Jin-wook, an analyst at Hana Daetoo
The South Korean won had plunged to its lowest in 13
weeks against the dollar on Monday and marked its biggest
one-day decline since September 2011, although it rose against
the dollar by more than 1 percent in late domestic trade on
Exporters, which lead the KOSPI in market capitalisation,
had seen their shares fall due to the strengthening won, as it
gives a price advantage to rivals such as Japanese firms.
South Korean shares had fallen 4.5 percent year-to-date as
of Monday, underperforming a 1.7 percent gain in their Asian
Tech heavyweight Samsung Electronics rose 2.7
percent, snapping losses after a 4-session decline wiped 15.9
trillion won ($14.54 billion) from its market capitalisation as
Automakers were one of the largest gainers, with
Hyundai Motor Co up 4 percent while sibling Kia
Motors Corp rose 5.1 percent.
"Hyundai Motor could see further gains if the exchange rate
shows further signs of stabilising," said Suh Sung-moon, an
analyst at Korea Investment & Securities.
Defensive plays such as financials and utilities
lost ground, with Woori Finance Holdings down 2.3
percent while Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) fell
Steelmaker POSCO fell 0.1 percent ahead of its
fourth-quarter earnings due after the trading session.
Local institutional investors purchased a net 239.9 billion
won ($219.44 million) worth of KOSPI shares, lifting the index.
Advancing shares outnumbered decliners 442 to 351. The KOSPI
200 benchmark of core stocks was up 1 percent, while
the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.2 percent higher.
Move on day +0.84 percent
12-month high 2,057.28 14 March 2012
12-month low 1,769.31 25 July 2012
Change on yr -3.7 percent
All-time high 2,231.47 27 April 2011
All-time low 93.10 6 January 1981
($1 = 1093.2500 Korean won)
(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)