Seoul shares up late Wed. morning on foreign buying

South Korean stocks traded higher late Wednesday morning on the back of solid foreign buying amid eased concerns over the contagion of a crisis in the global banking sector.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) had added 23.18 points, or 0.97 percent, to 2,411.53 as of 11:20 a.m.

The index opened higher, tracking Wall Street gains overnight, and had maintained the upward momentum.

Investor sentiment has improved after U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Tuesday that the government is willing to provide further guarantees of bank deposits if the banking crisis worsens.

Eyes are also on the Federal Reserve's two-day rate-setting meeting set to end Wednesday (U.S. time), where it is largely expected to rate the interest rates by 25 basis points. Traders had widely forecast a 50 basis point increase before the turmoil in the banking sector sparked by the collapse of American lenders earlier this month.

In Seoul, most big-cap shares gathered ground, with tech and financial shares leading the upturn of the index.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 0.83 percent, and chip giant SK hynix advanced 1.56 percent.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution surged 4.95 percent, and Samsung SDI added 1.95 percent. LG Chem soared 2.81 percent.

No. 1 automaker Hyundai Motor climbed 1.65 percent, and its affiliate Kia went up 1.03 percent.

Internet giant Naver rose 1.75 percent, and Kakao, the operator of the popular mobile messenger KakaoTalk, jumped 1.31 percent.

Bank shares also rose, with leading banking firm KB Financial going up 2.17 percent and its rival Shinhan Financial rising 2.15 percent.

The local currency was changing hands at 1,307.10 won against the greenback as of 11:20 a.m., up 4.1 won from the previous session's close.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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