South Korean shares steadied early on Friday, trading near record highs as expectations for strong second quarter corporate earnings supported the benchmark stock index. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.07 percent at 2,372.04 points as of 0202 GMT, set to close the week near the 2,387.29 all-time high on June 14. “It’s a relatively quiet day but investors are expecting some strong second quarter corporate earnings especially from the IT sector, which will continue to support the KOSPI,” said Kim Yoon-seo, an analyst at KTB Investment & Securities.
“Sector-wise, cosmetic and auto shares are rising after President Moon Jae-in said he will address the China boycotts issue,” Kim said. In an interview with Reuters, President Moon said he would ask China’s President Xi Jinping to lift measures against South Korean companies taken in retaliation against Seoul’s decision to host a U.S. anti-missile defence system. South Korean companies with large exposures in China reacted positively to his comments.
As of 0155 GMT, cosmetics maker Kolmar Holdings was up 3.95 percent, while Amorepacific Corp and Hankook Cosmetic rose 2.11 percent and 3.04 percent, respectively. Hyundai Motor edged up 1.55 percent, and Kia Motors gained 1.31 percent. Institutional investors purchased a net 50.5 billion Korean won ($44.3 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, buttressing the index.Advancers outnumbered decliners 499 to 282. The South Korean won remained flat at 1,140.9 to the dollar, unchanged from Thursday’s close.