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S. Korean stocks trade strong on foreign buying

2016/03/30 11:48

SEOUL, March 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares traded higher late Wednesday morning as foreign investors picked up shares bolstered by eased worries over a possible rate hike in the near future.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index gained 9.74 points, or 0.49 percent, to 2,004.65 as of 11:20 a.m.

On Tuesday (local time), Fed Chair Janet Yellen said at an economic club meeting in New York that the U.S. central bank should proceed "cautiously" in adjusting its policy rates. Her remarks were interpreted as a signal for no near-term rate hike, sending U.S. stocks higher.

Foreign investors became the sole net buyers here, leading the overall upward trend.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics traded 1.71 percent higher, bolstered by media reports projecting its better-than-expected operating profit for the first quarter. Steelmaker POSCO and chemical producer LG Chem also jumped 1.86 percent and 2.16 percent, respectively.

Auto issues traded mixed. Hyundai Motor advanced 1.29 percent, but its smaller affiliate Kia Motors retreated 1.5 percent amid worries that its Mexico plant under construction could hit a snag as the local government recently proposed renegotiations for its promised incentives and support.

The local currency was trading at 1,154.95 won against the U.S. dollar, up 8.85 won from Tuesday's close. The rise is in line with the overall descent in the value of the greenback caused by Yellen's dovish stance on the Fed's rate policy, market experts said.