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Seoul shares hit 1-week high on U.S. data, earnings eyed

Reuters Wednesday 15th January, 2014

* Foreigners net buy, poised to halt net selling streak


* Defensives rise before earnings season kick-off

SEOUL Jan 16 (Reuters) - Seoul shares nudged higher to a one-week high on Thursday morning after upbeat U.S. data reassured investors about the growth outlook in the world's largest economy, though buying was tempered ahead of the earnings season.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.3 percent at 1,959.06 points as of 0218 GMT after hitting an intraday high of 1,965.27, its highest since Jan. 8.

"Firm data are pointing to improvement in the U.S. economy, assuring that its strength will guide emerging markets higher," said Ko Seung-hee, a market analyst at SK Securities. "However, buying and selling volumes are thin as investors want to check up on corporate results."

Latest U.S. data showed that seasonally adjusted Producer Price Index rose 0.4 percent in December, the biggest increase since June, although inflation pressures remained benign. Meanwhile New York Federal Reserve Bank's "Empire State" index of general business conditions climbed to its highest level in 20 months. ...

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