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Seoul shares to continue upward move next week: analysts

The South Korean stock market is expected to continue its climb next week on the back of a continued foreign buying, although its gains may be capped due to profit-taking, analysts said Saturday.

   The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) finished at 2,013.44 points on Friday, up 2.9 percent from a week earlier.

   The main index, backed by massive foreign buying, continued to gather ground through the week, reaching this year's all-time high on Friday.

   Analysts said a series of economic data coming from China and the U.S., coupled with political events such as the presidential election in Ukraine, may set the overall tone for the local stock market, while foreigners' buying spree would likely continue.

   "A set of economic figures from the U.S. may show that the world's largest economy is on a recovery path, though it is unlikely for the Chinese economy to suffer an additional slowdown, which will boost foreign buying," said Lee Jung-min, an analyst at KDB-Daewoo Securities.

   The analyst said foreigners may target shares that are large-cap, sensitive to economic cycles or domestic-focused.

   Foreigners scooped up local shares this week with their net buying reaching over 1 trillion won (US$976 million). But institutional investors offloaded some net 200 billion won, and

retail investors clung on to a net selling position by selling about net 1 trillion won.

   Samsung Electronics, the top market cap on the local bourse, and its affiliates such as Samsung C&T and Samsung Life Insurance Co. led the overall market gain on hopes that the hospitalization of Lee Kun-hee, chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., will accelerate a group-wide restructuring and corporate succession to his heirs.

   Tech and steelmakers were among the biggest gainers this week, each gaining 3.9 percent and 3 percent. In contrast, banking lost 0.5 percent. (Yonhap News)

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