S.Korea stocks wobble after hitting record high; earnings, ECB eyed

* KOSPI touches as high as 2,436.06
* Market still cautious waiting for earnings, ECB -analyst
* Won edges down as dollar rebounds slightly

SEOUL, July 20 (Reuters) – South Korean shares briefly hit a
record high on Thursday before turning flat as investors grew
cautious ahead of more corporate earnings reports.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up
0.1 percent at 2,431.17 points as of 0154 GMT. It rose to as
high as 2,436.06 when trade began, its highest intraday level
ever.
“The KOSPI seems to be reacting more to remaining
uncertainties regarding corporate earnings rather than offshore
momentum,” said Lee Kyung-min, a stock analyst at Daishin
Securities.
Markets were also waiting for the European Central Bank’s
policy meeting later in the day for any further hints that it
may be preparing to taper its ultra-easy policy. ECB President
Mario Draghi opened the door to policy tweaks last month,
setting off a mini tantrum in financial markets.
Any currency market reaction to the ECB’s comments may
impact offshore investors’ demand for local equities, Lee said.
Offshore investors were expected to be sellers and offloaded
a net 28.3 billion won ($25.17 million) worth of KOSPI shares
near mid-session.
Steelmaker Posco rose nearly 2 percent on high
hopes of better earnings in the second half. The company’s
earnings guidance is due to be released later on the day.
LG Chemical gained 2.3 percent as the company
said second-quarter earnings will be better-than-expected.
Decliners outnumbered advancers 409 to 359.
The South Korean won edged down as the dollar edged
higher ahead of the ECB policy meeting.
The won stood at 1,124.1 against the dollar, down
0.3 percent compared to Wednesday’s close of 1,120.6.
September futures on three-year treasury bonds
gained 0.01 point to 109.20.

0154 GMT Prev close
Dollar/won 1,124.1 1,120.6
Yen/won 10.0352/40 10.0321
*KTB futures 109.20 109.19
KOSPI 2,431.17 2,429.94
* Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds

(Reporting by Dahee Kim; Editing by Kim Coghill)


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