[SEOUL] South Korean shares edged lower on Monday, taking their cue from losses on Wall Street while Lotte Shopping Co slipped after local prosecutors requested an arrest warrant for the group's chairman.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 0.28 per cent at 2,047.74 points as of 0245 GMT, retreating after a six-day advance.
Wall Street logged weekly gains but ended with solid losses on Friday, with the focus shifting to the highly-anticipated US Presidential election debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton set to take place early on Tuesday in Asian time zones.
Adding to the general air of caution is the meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries due this week, which potentially bring changes to global crude supplies.
Bae Sung Young, an analyst at Hyundai Securities said, Opec is adding to some uncertainty.
"Kospi is likely to see some pause this week after big jumps from last week," he said.
Shares of Lotte Shopping Co fell 2.2 per cent after local prosecutors requested arrest warrant for the group's chairman Shin Dong Bin, the latest twist in a broad criminal probe into the country's fifth-largest conglomerate.
Hyundai Motor Co was also in the news, with its stock falling 1.8 per cent after its labour union staged its first full nationwide strike in 12 years over wages, following a series of partial stoppages since July.
Hyundai Merchant Marine Co Ltd rose 6.33 per cent after the company announced plans to buy Hanjin Shipping assets as part of their mid- to long-term plans.
Oil refiner S-oil rose 0.4 per cent.
The sub-index for electricity and gas dropped 1.42 per cent.
Foreign investors purchased a net 2.2 billion Korean won (S$2.71 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session, helping to limit the index losses.
Decliners outnumbered advancers 457 to 332.
The South Korean won edged down, falling 0.5 per cent to 1,108.4 to the US dollar. The won has started to consolidate after a fairly volatile trading period last week when both the Bank of Japan and the Federal Reserve policy decisions had kept global markets on edge.
September futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 0.02 point to 110.83.