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Seoul: Shares fall to near 7-mth low; won steady ahead of FOMC minutes


[SEOUL] Seoul shares fell to a near seven-month low on Wednesday morning as renewed worries over China's economy took hold after Tuesday's plunge in Chinese share prices.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was down 1.3 per cent at 1,931.49 points as of 0232 GMT, after falling to a morning low of 1,924.88, the lowest since Jan 26. Declining shares outnumbered gainers 7.3 to 1.

"Institutional selling weighed on the main board, while after-effect from Tuesday's sharp fall in Chinese shares remained," said Lee Kyung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities.

Chinese shares plunged 6 per cent on Tuesday, and were still in negative territory in morning trade.

Mr Lee noted foreigners were purchasing South Korean local equities, but only in particular sectors such as electronics and financial shares.

Meanwhile, market heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co Ltd gained 2.7 per cent on bargain-hunting after falling to a 10-month low in the previous week.

SK Hynix Inc fell 4.1 per cent, and LG Electronics Inc lost 2.6 per cent.

Cosmetics maker Amorepacific Corp and Hankook Cosmetics Co Ltd slid 5.4 per cent and 10.5 per cent, respectively.

Offshore investors were set to break a nine-day selling streak, purchasing a net 88.9 billion won (S$105.4 million) worth of shares in the main bourse by midday.

The South Korean won held steady on the dollar ahead of US inflation data and minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting due later in the day which could give clues on the timing of a Fed rate hike.

The won was quoted at 1,183.5 per dollar, barely changed from the previous close at 1,185.0 "It seems there's no additional momentum for the greenback, and market participants are awaiting minutes from the Fed," said Yuna Park, a foreign-exchange analyst at Dongbu Securities.

September futures on three-year treasury bonds were quoted at 109.42, unchanged from Tuesday's close.