SEOUL: South Korean shares climbed on Thursday, hitting a three-week high during trading as hints of a possible compromise on US fiscal talks spurred investor appetite.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 0.84 percent at 1,928.87 points as of 0228 GMT, its highest intraday peak since November 7.
"After gains in US stocks, the main board is following suit," said Oh Seung-hoon, an analyst at Daishin Securities. "Sectors such as autos and shipbuilding that recently saw comparatively steeper losses are seeing greater gains."
Local stocks mirrored Asian peers edging higher on Thursday as sentiment improved after a senior US lawmaker said he was "optimistic" on reaching a budget deal before the end of the year to avoid a fiscal crisis.
Auto shares rose, with Hyundai Motor Co up 2.9 percent after Hyundai's US executive John Krafcik said on Wednesday the restatement of EPA fuel economy figures had no impact so far on Hyundai's US sales.
Shipbuilders were up, with Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd rising 3 percent while Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd rallied 5.4 percent.
Other blue-chips were mostly up, but market heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co Ltd bucked the trend by edging down 0.4 percent on profit-taking, continuing to fall short of its lifetime high reached last Friday.
Local institutional investors net-purchased 133.3 billion won ($122.70 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, buttressing the index.
Gaining shares outnumbered decliners 507 to 253.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was up 0.9 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.6 percent higher.