* KOSPI edges up, in line with regional markets
* Foreigners turn into buyers, underpin market
* POSCO drops on media reports about tax
By Jungmin Jang
SEOUL, March 28 Seoul shares edged up to their
strongest level in 12 weeks on Friday morning, reversing earlier
losses as foreigners changed to become net buyers.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up
0.3 percent at 1,984.39 points by 0205 GMT after hitting an
intraday high of 1,985.50, the highest level since Jan. 3.
The KOSPI was on track for a third straight winning session
and the strongest weekly gain since the end of August.
Hyundai Securities analyst Bae Sung-young said that some
stocks in emerging markets such as South Korea are "performing
well while relatively expensive developed markets continue to
Bae added that China's stimulus hopes needs to materialize
and the local market needs to further illustrate it can
withstand upcoming stimulus winding by the U.S. Federal Reserve
to attract foreign capital.
Foreign investors had purchased a net 42.4 billion won
($39.6 million) of local shares by mid-day.
Advancers outnumbered decliners 462 to 294, with brokerage
shares outshining others.
The Korea Exchange (KRX) Securities Equity Index
rose 1.6 percent, led by Mirae Asset Securities Co Ltd
and Meritz Securities Co Ltd, up 2.9
percent and 2.7 percent, respectively.
Steelmaker POSCO fell 2.8 percent after a local
media report said the company may face a fine of around 350
billion won by tax authorities. A POSCO spokesman declined to
comment, saying a tax probe is still under way.
Media reports that POSCO may consider buying some steel and
energy assets of Dongbu conglomerate also weighed on shares. The
POSCO spokesman said the company was offered assets, but nothing
has been decided.
Dongbu Steel Co Ltd soared 10.7 percent.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was up 0.3
percent, while the tech-heavy junior KOSDAQ edged 0.4
($1 = 1071.5000 Korean Won)
(Additional reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Richard