September 27, 2013 / 2:42 AM / 4 years ago

Seoul shares on track for weekly gain, shipbuilders strong

(Updates to midday)

* Main bourse on track for 5th consecutive winning week

* Shipbuilders rise again on bullish earnings outlook

* Kumho Industries plummets on worry over creditors’ share sell-off

SEOUL, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Seoul shares climbed on Friday morning as stronger weekly U.S. jobless claims data indicated the country’s second-largest export market was on firmer footing, but an impasse in budget and debt talks in Washington limited gains.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.3 percent at 2,013.91 by 0210 GMT after reaching an intraday high of 2,014.80.

Even with U.S. weekly claims for unemployment benefits falling to a six-year low and South Korea’s surplus in the goods account standing as the second-largest surplus on record, investors were cautious in their pursuit of riskier assets. [ID:ID:nL2N0HM0G1]

“South Korea’s surplus showing matched expectations, while the political showdown in Washington isn’t allowing the U.S. jobs claims data to be fully appreciated,” said Hi Investment & Securities analyst Lee Seung-joon.

Foreign investors positioned themselves as net-buyers, purchasing 67.4 billion won ($62.69 million) worth of local shares. Meanwhile, institutions offloaded 45.4 billion won worth of local shares in the morning, poised to extend their net selling spree to a 14th consecutive session.

Battery-maker Samsung SDI Co Ltd rose 1.8 percent, and was at one point up as high as 3.3 percent, buoyed by better sales prospects for secondary batteries in the emerging electric vehicle industry. It was also helped by high expectations for curved batteries that the company CEO spoke about at a launching event of Samsung Electronics’ newest high-end smartphone.

Samsung SDI is on pace for a 15 percent weekly gain, its highest since December 2011.

Shipbuilders rose for the second day on prospects of higher earnings in upcoming quarters, with Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd rising 3.1 percent and 3 percent, respectively. Samsung Heavy Industries Co Ltd also advanced 2.2 percent.

Kumho Industrial Co Ltd plunged 11.4 percent after a restriction on the sale of 3.5 million shares owned by the company’s creditors were lifted late on Thursday.

Gaining shares outnumbered decliners 408 to 369.

The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks edged 0.3 percent higher, while the junior KOSDAQ rose 0.8 percent.

$1 = 1075.1000 Korean won Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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