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Korean shares up 0.58 pct in late morning trade

All News 11:26 January 17, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares traded higher late Tuesday morning on the rise of Samsung Electronics despite its leadership crisis.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index gained 11.99 points, or 0.58 percent, to 2,076.16 as of 11:20 a.m.

It was helped by Samsung's rebound after declining two sessions in a row. On Monday, special prosecutors requested an arrest warrant for Samsung's vice chairman and heir-apparent Lee Jae-yong on bribery, embezzlement, perjury charges, as they are investigating an influence-peddling scandal involving President Park Geun-hye. A Seoul court will soon make the decision on whether to issue the warrant.

"Investors seem to perceive that the so-called CEO risk is not associated with the fundamental of a corporation," Lee Kyung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities, said. "IT-related shares, which suffered adjustment recently, are also bouncing back."

The KOSPI's uptick, however, was limited by uncertainty over the economic policy of the Donald Trump administration to launch later this week.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 1.96 percent and global chipmaker SK hynix was up 0.71 percent. Leading automaker Hyundai Motor advanced 1.66 percent, while state-run utility firm Korea Electric Power Corp. declined 1.13 percent. Top life insurer Samsung Life climbed 1.79 percent but the No. 1 steelmaker POSCO shed 0.56 percent.

The South Korean currency was trading at 1,185.35 won against the U.S. dollar, down 3.25 won from the previous session's close.


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