South Korean shares stepped up early on Tuesday as major IT company shares such as Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix rebounded from the previous day’s losses on domestic institutions’ demand. As of 0223 GMT, the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.5 percent at 2,075.15 points. Samsung Electronics, which tumbled 2.1 percent on Monday, gained nearly 2 percent in early trade and SK Hynix 1 percent. The sub-index for electric and electronics companies rose 1.7 percent.
On Monday, South Korea’s special prosecutor sought a warrant to arrest the head of Samsung Group, the largest conglomerate, accusing him of paying multi-million dollar bribes to a friend of President Park Geun-hye. Kim Sung-hwan, a stock analyst at Bookook Securities, said the KOSPI index “will stay firm unless the special prosecutors extend their probe into other conglomerates, sparking market anxiety”.
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He added that market players are also focused on the inauguration of US President-elect Donald Trump, worrying that Wall Street may slump and pull down riskier assets broadly if his fiscal policies remain unclear. Near mid-session, offshore investors were set to be small net buyers of KOSPI shares. Local institutions bought a net 57.3 billion won ($48.35 million).
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones by 409 to 363. The South Korean won weakened and stood at 1,185.4 to the dollar, down 0.3 percent compared with Monday’s close of 1,182.1. March futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.01 point to 109.62. 0223 GMT Prev close Dollar/won 1,185.4 1,182.1 Yen/won 10.3811/00 10.3517 *KTB futures 109.62 109.61 KOSPI 2,075.15 2,064.17 * Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds.