May 25, 2017 / 3:03 AM / 4 months ago

S.Korea stocks rally on BOK's upbeat comments; won gains after Fed

    * KOSPI notch a new record high, touching as high as
2,342.14
    * BOK holds rates for 11th month; comments on better economy
growth
    * Won hikes as Fed seemed rather dovish in its May minutes

    SEOUL, May 25 (Reuters) - South Korean shares were set to
rally for a fifth day on Thursday, notching record intraday
highs in early trade, as upbeat comments from the Bank of Korea
over local economic growth pushed up stocks, with furher support
from offshore buying.             
    The Bank of Korea kept interest rates unchanged for a 11th
straight month, opting for stability in its first policy review
since President Moon Jae-in's inauguration.             
     The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI)         was
up 0.9 percent at 2,337.92 points as of 0236 GMT, highest level
in its history. The index touched as high as 2,342.14.
    "Market forecasts for the future fundamentals of South
Korea's economy are getting more optimistic, attracting more
investors. The KOSPI's upward trend is likely to continue as
late as the third quarter," said Cho Byung-hyun, a stock analyst
at Yuanta Securities.
    Cho added that shares accelerated their gains after foreign
investors turned to net buyers of local equities.
    Offshore investors purchased a net 86.8 billion Korean won 
($77.66 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session,
buttressing the index.
    "There will be more foreign flows into the local stock
market due to the cheerful outlook," said Cho.
    Foreign investors have bought a net 7.8 trillion won worth
in total for this year.  
    Advancers outnumbered decliners 492 to 306.
    The South Korean won        also jumped in response to the
release of Federal Reserve's May policy meeting minutes where
the policymakers agreed they should hold off on raising interest
rates until it was clear a recent U.S. economic slowdown was
temporary.             
    The won            stood at 1,117.7 to the dollar, up 0.8
percent versus Wednesday's close at 1,126.8.
    Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics             gained 1
percent while steelmaker POSCO             gained nearly 3
percent. 
    June futures on three-year treasury bonds         gained
0.01 point to 109.44. 
    
                       0236 GMT    Prev close
 Dollar/won             1,117.7       1,126.8
 Yen/won             10.0072/52       10.0281
 *KTB futures            109.44        109.43
 KOSPI                 2,337.92      2,317.34
 * Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds
    

 (Reporting by Dahee Kim; Editing by Eric Meijer)
  

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