S.Korean shares up, on track for best quarter since Q3 2013
By Yeawon Choi SEOUL, March 31 (Reuters) - South Korean shares climbed on Tuesday after a rise on Wall Street and steps by China to shore up its economy boosted risk appetite, led by demand for securities companies on expectations of higher earnings. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) edged up 0.2 percent to 2,033.36 as of 0253 GMT. South Korean shares have jumped 6.2 percent this quarter, putting them on track for their biggest quarterly gain since the third quarter of 2013. On a monthly basis, the index is up 2.4 percent, set for its best month since July 2014. "Investors expected a higher performance this quarter ahead of the earnings season," said Lee Kyung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities on Tuesday. The sub-index for brokerage houses rose 1.6 percent to 2,339.17, with Golden Bridge Investment and Securities jumping 14 percent and KTB Investment and Securities up 11.7 percent. Market heavyweight Hyundai Motor was up 0.6 percent at 168,000 won after trading as high as 172,500 won early in the session. The South Korean won fell on expectations that the U.S. central bank would start raising interest rates gradually later this year. The won was down 0.3 percent at 1,108.7 per dollar, compared with the previous close of 1,104.9. It has fallen 0.9 percent in March. June futures on three-year treasury bonds were up 0.04 point at 109.48 as of 0253 GMT. 0253 GMT Prev close Dollar/won 1,108.5 1,104.9 Yen/won 9.2252/297 9.2138 *KTB futures 109.48 109.44 KOSPI 2,033.36 2,030.04 * Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds (Editing by Tony Munroe and Alan Raybould)
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