* Local exporters' strong Q1 earnings to boost KOSPI
* U.S. Fed outlook in focus
* Major bank shares rise expecting Fed rate hike
SEOUL, March 14 South Korean shares looked set
for a third straight session of gains early on Tuesday, notching
an over 20-month intraday high as the market seemed to have
shrugged off most of the risks at home for now, attracting more
Ousted South Korean leader Park Geun-hye faced criticism on
Monday over a defiant vow that the truth of her impeachment
would be revealed, with the main opposition party urging
prosecutors to investigate her quickly.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up
0.5 percent at 2,127.60 points as of 0226 GMT, the highest since
May 27, 2015.
Kim Ye-eun, a stock analyst at LIG Investment & Securities,
said there could be some adjustments, but the index would gain
further towards end-March as local exporters are likely to post
strong first-quarter earnings.
"The KOSPI will find more support if the Federal Reserve
offers an optimistic outlook on the U.S. economy at its
meeting," added Kim.
The U.S. central bank's March policy meeting will kick off
later in the day.
Offshore investors were expected to be net buyers for seven
consecutive sessions, purchasing 179.9 billion won ($156.79
million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session.
The index of major financial groups rose 1.2 percent
on expectations of a rate hike by the Fed. Hana Financial Group
Inc and KB Financial Group Inc rose
nearly 2 percent each.
The South Korean won edged down as the greenback
recovered ahead of the Fed meeting.
The won stood at 1,147.4 against the dollar,
down 0.3 percent compared to Monday's close of 1,144.4.
March futures on three-year treasury bonds edged up
0.01 point to 109.35.
0226 GMT Prev close
Dollar/won 1,147.7 1,144.4
Yen/won 9.9930/26 9.9799
*KTB futures 109.35 109.34
KOSPI 2,127.60 2,117.59
* Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds
(Reporting by Dahee Kim; Editing by Sunil Nair)