S.Korean shares up, headed for 4th straight weekly gain

SOUL, Aug 2:   South Korean shares rose on Friday morning, thanks to strong U.S. Factory activity data and a commitment to easy policy by European central banks, but gains were limited by caution ahead of U.S. Jobs data later in the day.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.5 percent at 1,929.85 at 0315 GMT, in line with regional markets. The index was on track for a fourth consecutive week of gains.
The KOSPI has advanced more than 5 percent during the four-week rally. But Friday’s gains were tempered by prospects the U.S. Federal Reserve will start tapering of its bond-buying stimulus.
‘The U.S. Indicators may even accelerate the timeframe  for the Fed’s tapering,’ said HI Investment & Securities analyst Lee Seung-joon. ‘There are also some concerns about weak conditions in China and the emerging economies, which are important markets for South Korean exporters.’
Technology giant Samsung Electronics Co rose 1.1 percent while auto maker Hyundai Motor Co gained 2.4 percent on optimism for a steady global recovery despite concerns about China.
Gainers outnumbered decliners 467 to 290.
The KOSPI benchmark of core stocks gained 0.7 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ rose 0.4 percent.
On Thursday, the U.S. Institute for Supply Management  said its July index of national factory activity rose to its highest level since June 2011.
A separate report showed first-time applications for jobless benefits hit a 5-1/2-year low last week.
The European Central Bank and the Bank of England both  ended policy meetings by leaving interest rates at record lows on Thursday, a day after the Fed said the U.S. Economy still needed its support. ($1 = 1121.4000 Korean won)

(AGENCIES)

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