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[SEOUL] South Korean shares eased on Friday on worries about weaker fourth-quarter profits and as investors took profit from gains earlier in the week.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 0.2 per cent at 2,060.43 points as of 0219 GMT, but still looked set for a mild gain of 0.8 per cent for the week.
"Market sentiment is cooling since forecasts about fourth-quarter earnings are getting weaker and monetary policies from the major central banks are also pressuring the main bourse," said Kang Hyun Gie, a stock analyst at Dongbu Securities.
Offshore investors were set to be net sellers, offloading 37 billion Korean won (S$45.57 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.
Tech giant Samsung Electronics Co said it expected third-quarter operating profit grew 5.6 per cent, beating estimates, as a pickup in chip and display earnings likely offset the impact of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone recall.
The company's shares were just up 0.4 per cent as they had gained sharply in the previous session.
Chipmaker SK Hynix Inc dropped more than one per cent, breaking its recent rally.
Decliners outnumbered advancers 537 to 268.
The South Korean won weakened and stood at 1,115.4 against the US dollar, down 0.3 per cent compared to Thursday's close of 1,112.2.
December futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.02 point to 110.72.