* U.S. consumer confidence, house prices boost outlook
* Cyclicals to benefit from recent trend
By Christine Kim
SEOUL, March 26 Seoul shares stood at their
highest in two weeks early on Wednesday, tracking Asian peers as
investors warmed to risky assets thanks to positive data from
the U.S. that boosted confidence in a firm recovery there.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up
1 percent at 1,960.18 points as of 0157 GMT and reached its
highest level since March 11 shortly after markets opened.
U.S. consumer confidence rose more than expected in March
and to its highest level since January 2008 while U.S. house
prices posted solid gains in January, underpinning hopes for
stronger growth in the U.S. and the global
Local analysts said the bright U.S. economic data and
expectations of measures by China to shore up its economy would
likely push up cyclicals in the South Korean stock market.
"Once Chinese growth measures materialise, investors' demand
for (cyclicals) will only grow faster. They will be the first to
benefit as they have posted steep losses," said Oh Seung-hoon at
Daishin Securities in Seoul.
As a result, steelmakers, banks and shipbuilders would
advance in the foreseeable period, said Oh.
Institutions and foreigners propped up local stocks, net
purchasing 90.6 billion ($83.94 million) won and 42.1 billion
won worth respectively.
Electronics led the gains, with market heavyweight Samsung
Electronics Co Ltd advancing 2.3 percent and LG
Display Co Ltd rising 1.7 percent.
Hyundai Motor Co shares were up 3.4 percent and
its affiliate Kia Motors Co stepped up 1.6 percent
after media reports said Hyundai Motor plans to build its fourth
plant in China for about 1 trillion won.
Advancers outnumbered decliners 440 to 340.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was up 1.1
percent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged up 0.4 percent.
($1 = 1079.3500 Korean Won)
(Editing by Eric Meijer)