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Seoul: Shares, won fall in volatile trade in risk-off mood
[SEOUL] Seoul shares and the won fell in volatile trade by midday on Wednesday as investors worried about slowing global growth following soft US and Chinese manufacturing activity surveys.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was down 0.5 per cent at 1,904.56 points as of 0229 GMT. It slid as much as 1.6 per cent to 1,883.50 points right after markets opened. Losers outnumbered gainers by 3.7 to 1. "Concerns over the global economy and the timing of the Fed's rate hike, rather than expectation, dominated the local stock markets," said Cho Byung-hyun, a stock analyst at Yuanta Securities.
Mr Cho noted the KOSPI may fluctuate around 1,850 to 1,950 points at least ahead of a meeting of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee later in the month.
Foreigners were set to be net sellers for a 20th consecutive session, offloading a net 53.5 billion won (S$64.1 million) worth of shares in the main board by midday.
Meanwhile, car makers bolstered the market, with bellwether Hyundai Motor Co Ltd up 2.7 per cent and Kia Motors Corp rising 2.1 per cent.
Lee Sang-hyun, an analyst at IBK Securities, said Hyundai Motor's sales data the previous day showing smaller declines in China sales and expectations both companies would improve sales in the world's second-largest economy underpinned their shares.
Refinery and chemical shares underperformed the broad market after oil prices slumped overnight.
SK Innovation Co Ltd fell 2.3 per cent, S-Oil Corp slid 3.3 per cent and Lotte Chemical Corp dropped 4 per cent.
On the currency market, the won eased 0.6 per cent to 1,179.0 per dollar from the previous close of 1,171.8. "Investors are avoiding betting on riskier assets, while still watching stock markets in China," said Yuna Park, a foreign-exchange analyst at Dongbu Securities.
Ms Park added that local exporters' demand to buy won for settlement appeared around 1,180.
September futures on three-year treasury bonds were up 0.06 points at 109.51.