2 Min Read
* Blue chips rise broadly
* Samsung Electronics adds 1.6 pct
SEOUL, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Seoul shares rose on Thursday morning, tracking Wall Street gains as investor appetite for risk was boosted for a second session after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reaffirmed his commitment to monetary easing.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 0.9 percent to 2,022.70 points as of 0202 GMT.
"Relief from U.S. events is playing a large part. Monetary easing is expected to continue, while 'sequestration' cuts could be avoided by retroactively applying an agreement in March," said Lee Seon-yeop, an analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp.
Sequestration refers to automatic cuts in the U.S federal budget due to take effect on Friday as Congress and the White House have so far been unable to agree on other ways to reduce the federal deficit.
The KOSPI's rise mirrored Asian peers' second day of gains after Bernanke strongly defended the U.S. central bank's monetary stimulus in testimony before Congress.
Blue chips gained across the board, with market heavyweight Samsung Electronics climbing 1.6 percent around mid-session after closing flat on Wednesday.
A few defensives were weak, with home appliance retailer Lotte Himart Co Ltd falling 1.3 percent while food processor CJ Cheiljedang edged down 0.3 percent.
Local institutional and foreign investors purchased a net 200 billion won ($184.43 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, lifting the index.
Advancing shares outnumbered decliners 529 to 234.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was up 1.1 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.3 percent higher.
$1 = 1084.4250 Korean won Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Jacqueline Wong