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Seoul shares edge higher after Wall Street gains, Hanjin Shipping soars
Seoul shares crept higher on Friday morning as overnight gains on Wall Street offset the impact of South Korean stocks going ex-dividend.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 0.1 percent to 2001.77 points by 0226 GMT. Market watchers saw underlying signs of upward momentum after Wall Street rose to a record overnight on positive economic data.
That was enough to counter the effect of local shares going ex-dividend, meaning investors won’t receive dividends from any shares purchased between today and the close of the current financial reporting period at end-December.
“Even as the ex-dividend factor takes effect, the market is following the sturdy year-end trend of developed markets as global economic outlook continues to improve,” said Kang Hyun-gee, an analyst at IM Investment & Securities.
Semiconductor maker SK Hynix Inc and online media company Naver Corp rose 2.2 percent and 2.5 percent respectively, bouncing back from sharp declines in the previous session.
But high-dividend stocks had significant declines. Mobile carrier SK Telecom Co Ltd dropped 3 percent, tobacco company KT&G Corp fell 4.1 percent and Industrial Bank of Korea slipped 2.5 percent.
Meanwhile Hanjin Shipping Co Ltd soared by a daily limit of 15 percent after the company secured 300 billion won ($283 million) by establishing a joint venture with Hahn & Company on Thursday, spinning off its dedicated dry bulk business to reduce debt and strengthen its balance sheet.
Institutional investors sold a net 80.2 billion won worth of local shares near mid-session, on track to snap a 16-day net purchasing streak.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was up 0.1 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ rose 1.1 percent. ($1 = 1059.2500 Korean won)
(Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)
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