S.Korea stocks jump to record high, won at 2-wk high

* Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s comments boost market sentiment
* BOK holds interest rates at record low for 13th month
* KOSPI jumps over 1 pct
* KOSPI may erase gains if BOK governor seems hawkish –
analyst

SEOUL, July 13 (Reuters) – South Korean shares jumped to a
record high early on Thursday and the won hit a two-week high as
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s comments overnight boosted
investor demand for riskier assets, overshadowing the Bank of
Korea’s move to hold rates.
Yellen said on Wednesday that although U.S. economy was
healthy enough, monetary tightening would come gradually due to
low inflation and neutral rates.
South Korea’s central bank kept interest rates at a record
low for a 13th straight month, as widely expected.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up
1 percent at 2,415.36 points as of 0144 GMT, its highest
intraday level in history.
The won was quoted at 1,139.3 against the dollar,
strongest since June 29. It was up 0.5 percent versus
Wednesday’s close of 1,145.1
“Yellen’s rather dovish comments have boosted market
sentiment and stocks are showing big reactions,” said Kim
Ye-eun, a stock analyst at Cape Investment & Securities.
Analysts are looking for direction from BOK Governor Lee
Ju-yeol’s news conference at 11:20 a.m. (0220 GMT)
“Revising up the outlook itself can be a catalyst for
additional gains, but if the governor takes a hawkish stance in
his talks the KOSPI may erase gains,” Kim said.
Offshore investors were set to be net buyers, purchasing
51.7 billion Korean won ($45 million) worth of KOSPI shares near
mid-session, buttressing the index.
The sub-index for securities shares rose over 2
percent following the broader market’s rally. Samsung Securities
was up 2 percent and NH Investment & Securities
up 2.1 percent.
Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics and SK
Hynix also gained 1.8 percent and 2.8 percent
respectively.
September futures on three-year treasury bonds
gained 0.04 point to 109.19.

0144 GMT Prev close
Dollar/won 1,139.3 1,145.1
Yen/won 10.0618/98 10.0487
*KTB futures 109.19 109.15
KOSPI 2,415.36 2,391.77
* Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds

(Reporting by Dahee Kim; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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