Seoul shares rose by midday on Wednesday as builders led gains on expectations for increasing orders from Iran after Tehran and global powers reached a nuclear deal.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.3 percent at 2,065.06 points as of 0226 GMT from the previous close at 2,059.23. Gainers led losers by 1.18 to 1.
“Market’s rose today due to the deal as builders gained on expectations for more contracts from Iran and refineries were up on prospects for stabilisation in oil markets,” said Rhoo Yong-seok, an analyst at Hyundai Securities.
Builders outperformed the broader market, rising 2.8 percent. Daelim Industrial Co Ltd gained 2.5 percent after rising as much as 14.5 percent to 98,000 won, its highest since Dec. 2, 2013.
Refinery SK Innovation Co Ltd and S-Oil Corp rose 1.9 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively. Carmaker Hyundai Motor Co Ltd was up 1.2 percent and its sister company Kia Motors Corp gained 0.8 percent.
Foreigners were set to be net buyers in the local stock market, purchasing a net 109 billion won ($95.6 million) worth of KOSPI shares by midday.
The South Korean won edged up against the dollar as the dollar lost ground on easing expectations for a U.S. Federal Reserve rate hike in September following disappointing U.S. retail sales data.
The won was up 0.2 percent at 1,140.0 per dollar from the previous close of 1,142.6.
U.S. retail sales slipped 0.3 percent last month, the weakest reading since February.
Market reaction was largely muted after China’s better-than-expected second quarter economic growth data was released during the session.