SEOUL: South Korean shares got off to a firm start early on Monday, as investors sought bargains on signs of strength in the global economy to extend its recovery from 4-week lows hit the previous week. Better-than-expected US jobs data also underpinned investor sentiment, with the market seen stabilising after a sell-off in technology and construction stocks.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.5 per cent at 2,407.93 points as of 0255 GMT. “Techs and construction shares, the main drivers for last week’s drop in the KOSPI, are getting back on track and the overall market sentiment is optimistic after US jobs data,” said Cho Byung-hyun, a stock analyst at Yuanta Securities. Shares of SK Hynix rose nearly 1 per cent while LG Display gained 1.1 per cent. The sub-index for construction shares rose 1.3 per cent. Cho added the index was poised to enter a period of consolidation this week and would likely drift higher. Offshore investors were poised to be net buyers, purchasing 20.1 billion won ($17.85 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session. Advancers outnumbered decliners 493 to 303. Samsung Engineering was one of the outperformers, jumping 8.1 per cent to six-and-a-half-month high. The company received “intention to award” for a refinery plant project from DRPIC – a joint venture between Oman Oil Co and Kuwait Petroleum International – worth 1.13 trillion won. The South Korean won edged down on signs of labour market tightness in the United States, paving the way for the Federal Reserve to announce a plan to start shrinking its massive bond portfolio, lifting the dollar. The won stood at 1,126.8 against the dollar, down 0.2 per cent compared with Friday’s close of 1,125.0. September futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 0.07 point to 109.24.