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Seoul: Shares hit by Samsung Electronics woes, won drops

[SEOUL] South Korean shares came under early pressure again on Tuesday on an extended selloff of market heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co Ltd after it announced it would halt Galaxy Note 7 sales globally as it probes reports of fires.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 0.4 per cent at 2,048.29 points as of 0158 GMT.

Shares of Samsung Electronics fell as much as 5 per cent when markets opened, touching their lowest level since Sept 30, 2016.

The world's top smartphone maker said it had asked all global carriers to stop sales of the Note 7s and the exchange of original devices for replacements, while it worked with regulators to investigate new reports of the device catching fire.

"It is now key how quickly Samsung Electronics wraps up this Note 7 issue, like coming up with a new smartphone model earlier than expected," said Bae Sung Young, a stock analyst at Hyundai Securities.

He added the Kospi's losses were limited thanks to support from gains on Wall Street.

Other Samsung Group shares were not affected by the smartphone crisis. Samsung SDI Co Ltd rose 1.8 per cent while Samsung SDS Co Ltd gained 0.3 per cent.

Offshore investors were poised to be sellers, offloading a net 139 billion Korean won (S$171.88 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.

Advancers and decliners were almost even at 406 to 383.

The South Korean won fell as the greenback strengthened ahead of the release of US Federal Reserve's September policy meeting minutes later this week.

The won stood at 1,115.8 against the US dollar, down a touch compared with Monday's close of 1,108.4.

December futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 0.05 point to 110.59.