Seoul shares up on foreign buying, easing Japan fear
* Refiners, chemical firms gain
* Technology issues retreat
By Jungyoun Park
SEOUL, March 22 (Reuters) - Seoul shares rose on Tuesday helped by reports Japan was slowly regaining control over a damaged nuclear plant, with solid gains in refiners and chemical firms boosting the market.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index .KS11 (KOSPI) was up 0.40 percent at 2,011.48 points as of 0142 GMT.
"Shares are bouncing with the Japan nuclear fear abating as the latest news reports point to steady progress on repairs at the nuclear plant site," said Kwak Joong-bo, a market analyst at Samsung Securities.
The reconnection of power at earthquake-stricken reactors in Japan was a big step in managing the nuclear crisis, experts said on Monday.[ID:nN21103145]
"But uncertainties including the turmoil in Libya are ongoing, and I expect the main index to face resistance near its 60-day moving average," Kwak said. The KOSPI's 60-day moving average is around 2,030 points.
Foreign investors were buyers of a net 43.8 billion won ($38.93 million) worth of stocks, poised to pick up shares for a fifth consecutive session.
Continued strength in oil prices CLc1 fuelled refiners' upward momentum.
Shares in SK Innovation (096770.KS), the country's No.1 crude oil refiner, rose 3.8 percent and S-Oil (010950.KS) advanced 3 percent.
Chemical firms likewise rose amid positive earnings expectations.
SK Chemicals (006120.KS) was up 1.8 percent and LG Chem (051910.KS) gained 2.1 percent.
Shares in shipbuilders gained amid order hopes after the Korea Exchange asked Samsung Heavy Industries (010140.KS) to clarify a media report it had won a large container ship order. Samsung said it would respond to the request by the end of the day.
Shares in Samsung Heavy Industries rose 2.4 percent and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (042660.KS) climbed 2.9 percent.
Airlines and tour issues continued to rebound, with Korean Air Line (003490.KS) advancing 1 percent and Modetour (080160.KQ) advancing 2.8 percent.
But technology issues eased. Shares in Samsung Electronics (005930.KS), the world's No.1 memory chip maker, lost 1.4 percent and LG Display (034220.KS) slipped 1.1 percent.
(Reporting by Jungyoun Park; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)
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