[SEOUL] South Korean shares were nearly flat by midday on Monday, erasing earlier losses on optimism China will resume stimulus measures following poor activity in its manufacturing sector.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.1 per cent at 2,030.15 points as of 0220 GMT, erasing earlier falls to 2,028.20.
The South Korean won dipped as investors remained cautious on anticipation of a US Federal Reserve rate hike in December.
The local currency was quoted at 1,142.5 to the dollar, compared with 1,140.1 at the end of onshore trade on Friday.
Activity in China's manufacturing sector unexpectedly contracted in October for a third straight month, an official survey showed on Sunday, fuelling fears that the economy may still be losing its momentum.
Another private survey on Monday showed China's factory activity fell for an eighth straight month in October, pointing to still sluggish momentum.
"China's fourth-quarter growth is at risk unless China's government comes up with significant measures to lift its sinking stock market and economy," said Seo Myung-chan, a stocks analyst at Kiwoom Securities.
Shares in CJ O Shopping Co Ltd, a parent firm of CJ HelloVision Co Ltd, the nation's largest cable television company, soared 10.8 per cent after local news reports said SK Telecom Co Ltd, South Korea's top mobile carrier, announced it would acquire CJ HelloVision.
Foreign investors purchased a net 7.2 billion Korean won (S$8.9 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session.