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Seoul: Stocks edge down amid market uncertainty, won recovers

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares eased early on Wednesday despite renewed global risk sentiment as market participants remained uncertain about future central bank policies both at home and in the U.S.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was down 0.5 per cent at 1,973.37 points as of 0209 GMT.

Kim Sung Hwan, a stock analyst at Bookook Securities, said the market is waiting for comments from three typically hawkish Federal Reserve officials due to speak Thursday for clues on next policy moves.

"And once the BOK's decision is out in the market at the end of this week, the KOSPI will probably bounce back again," Mr Kim said.

South Korea's central bank is scheduled to hold its policy meeting on Friday, where a majority of analysts polled by Reuters saw interest rates unchanged at 1.50 per cent.

Foreigners were poised to be sellers, offloading 35.0 billion Korean won (S$40.99 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, weighing on the index.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 451 to 325.

Electronics manufacturer LG Electronics Inc was down 3.7 per cent while web portal operator Naver Corp fell 2.1 per cent.

The South Korean won reversed losses from previous sessions, firming against the greenback as global oil prices and equities strengthened overnight.

The won stood at 1,168.2 per US dollar, up 0.4 per cent compared with Tuesday's close of 1,172.6.

June futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.01 point to 110.48.

REUTERS