Seoul shares end at 3-week high on hints of U.S. fiscal compromise

Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:26am GMT

* Auto makers, shipbuilders bullish after recent losses

* LG Display down on profit-taking since Tuesday's 18-mth high

SEOUL Nov 29 (Reuters) - South Korean shares climbed on Thursday, hitting a three-week closing high as hints of a possible compromise in U.S. fiscal talks spurred investor appetite.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 1.15 percent to close at 1,934.85 points, its highest finish since Nov. 7.

"Today's session kept to the recent pattern of the main board reacting to the news flow surrounding the U.S. fiscal cliff," said Kang Hyun-gie, an analyst at IM Investment & Securities.

Local stocks mirrored Asian peers edging higher on Thursday as sentiment improved after a senior U.S. lawmaker said he was "optimistic" on reaching a budget deal before the end of the year to avoid a fiscal crisis.

Sectors such as autos and shipbuilding that recently saw comparatively steeper losses were bullish, with Kia Motors Corp up 4.7 while STX Offshore & Shipbuilding Co Ltd rallied 10.5 percent.

Other blue chips were mostly up, but LG Display Co Ltd bucked the trend by falling 3.8 percent on profit-taking, dropping steadily after it reached an 18-month high on Tuesday.

Local institutional investors net-purchased 272.5 billion Korean won ($251 million) worth of KOSPI shares during the session, buttressing the index. Gaining shares outnumbered decliners 537 to 274.

The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks rose 1.2 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.5 percent higher.

Move on day +1.15 percent

12-month high 2,057.28 14 March 2012

12-month low 1,750.60 19 Dec 2011

Change on yr +5.9 percent

All-time high 2,231.47 27 April 2011

All-time low 93.10 6 January 1981 ($1 = 1086.4000 Korean won) (Reporting by Joyce Lee)