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[SEOUL] South Korean shares edged lower on Friday morning, underperforming regional peers and retreating further from Wednesday's two-month peak on sell-offs by offshore funds.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 0.33 per cent to 1,946.31 as of 0200 GMT.
Foreign investors sold a net 131.8 billion won (US$121.1 million) of shares on the main bourse.
Shares in Hyundai Glovis rose 0.6 per cent after Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo and his son Chung Eui-sun sold a 1.16 trillion won (US$1.07 billion) stake in the company.
However, Hyundai Mobis shares plunged 4.3 per cent after the Chung family promised a lock-up period of two years, preventing them from selling any more shares in Glovis, scuppering prospects of divestment in the near-term.
Mobis is seen as an integral part of Hyundai Motor Group's succession plan, with the family keen to raise its stake in it for a smooth handover of control to heir-apparent Chung Eui-sun.
Energy counters rallied as oil prices bounced back from sharp losses, with SK Innovation climbing 2.8 per cent while LG Chem rose 1.5 per cent.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks fell 0.4 per cent while the junior, tech-heavy KOSDAQ was up 0.6 per cent.
The South Korean won edged up against the dollar on Friday, as the block deal for Hyundai Glovis shares spurred demand for the local currency.
The local currency was trading at 1,088.0 to the dollar as of 0200 GMT, compared with 1,090.5 quoted at the end of Thursday's session.
South Korea's vice finance minister said on Friday that the country was easing controls on overseas borrowing by financial firms, a step seen as part of its preparation for an anticipated US rate hike.
Investors will be on the look-out for additional market cues with the US nonfarm payrolls report due later in the day.
March futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 1 basis point to trade at 108.72.