[SEOUL] South Korean shares fell on Wednesday morning, tracking US stock markets, as investor risk-taking was sapped after bellwethers on Wall Street announced soft earnings.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was down 0.9 per cent at 2,065.95 points as of 0204 GMT.
The index will mark its sharpest daily percentage drop in two weeks if it maintains the decline by the close of trade.
"Local markets opened with risk-off sentiment on the back of earnings woes in Wall Street, and continuous foreign selling in local markets are weighing on the index," said Lee Jae-hoon, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities.
Lee added the index was likely to hover around the 2,000 to 2,100 level until July and reach 2,200 at year-end on expectations of improved earnings in the coming quarters.
Wall Street closed lower on weak earnings from bellwethers IBM and United Technologies, while Apple slumped 7 per cent in after-hours trading after its revenue forecast fell short of expectations.
Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co Ltd was down 1.8 per cent.
Hyundai Motor Co Ltd slipped 1.4 per cent after posting its sharpest daily percentage gain in nearly four years on Tuesday.
S-Oil Corp rose 2.2 per cent after the company said it saw a recovery in industry-wide second-half refining margins.
The South Korean won gained against the dollar, in line with most regional peers, due to profit-taking in the greenback after recent sharp gains.
The won was up 0.5 per cent at 1,152.8 on the dollar after hitting a two-year low of 1,159.9 on Tuesday.
"The won rose today as the dollar had continuously risen without notable corrections," said Jung Kyung-parl, a currency analyst at KEB Futures.