[SEOUL] South Korean shares started the week on a tentative footing on Monday as investor confidence took a hit from a tumble in Samsung Electronics stock amid a deepening phone recall crisis.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 0.05 per cent at 2,052.69 points as of 0256 GMT.
The market was already on the defensive after weaker-than-expected US jobs data.
Samsung Electronics shares dropped as much as 4.6 per cent, their biggest loss in a month, after a South Korean government agency on Monday said it is monitoring reports that some of its new Galaxy Note 7 smartphones have caught fire amid a deepening recall crisis for the tech giant.
Shares of Doosan Infracore Co Ltd, the top shareholder of Doosan Bobcat, plunged as much as 13 per cent to their lowest intraday level in over 3 months as Doosan Bobcat dropped plans for an up to 2.45 trillion won (S$3.02 billion) initial public offering.
Offshore investors sold a net 47.3 billion Korean won worth of Kospi shares near mid-session while institutions purchased a net 275.8 billion won worth.
Advancers outnumbered decliners 503 to 289.
The South Korean won edged up early on Monday after the weaker than expected US jobs data.
The won was quoted at 1,113.3 per US dollar, up 0.2 per cent compared to the previous close of 1,115.5.
"The currency's further gain seems unlikely since most of the Federal Reserve officials' support for December rate hike seems little affected by the data," said Jung Sung Yoon, a foreign exchange analyst at Hyundai Futures.
He said markets will keep a close eye the Fed's last policy meeting minutes which will be released later this week.
December futures on three-year treasury bonds were even at 110.72.