Seoul shares crept higher on Friday morning as overnight gains on Wall Street offset the impact of South Korean stocks going ex-dividend.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 0.1 percent to 2001.77 points by 0226 GMT. Market watchers saw underlying signs of upward momentum after Wall Street rose to a record overnight on positive economic data.

That was enough to counter the effect of local shares going ex-dividend, meaning investors won’t receive dividends from any shares purchased between today and the close of the current financial reporting period at end-December.

“Even as the ex-dividend factor takes effect, the market is following the sturdy year-end trend of developed markets as global economic outlook continues to improve,” said Kang Hyun-gee, an analyst at IM Investment & Securities.

Semiconductor maker SK Hynix Inc and online media company Naver Corp rose 2.2 percent and 2.5 percent respectively, bouncing back from sharp declines in the previous session.

But high-dividend stocks had significant declines. Mobile carrier SK Telecom Co Ltd dropped 3 percent, tobacco company KT&G Corp fell 4.1 percent and Industrial Bank of Korea slipped 2.5 percent.

Meanwhile Hanjin Shipping Co Ltd soared by a daily limit of 15 percent after the company secured 300 billion won ($283 million) by establishing a joint venture with Hahn & Company on Thursday, spinning off its dedicated dry bulk business to reduce debt and strengthen its balance sheet.

Institutional investors sold a net 80.2 billion won worth of local shares near mid-session, on track to snap a 16-day net purchasing streak.

The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was up 0.1 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ rose 1.1 percent. ($1 = 1059.2500 Korean won)

(Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)