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Seoul: Stocks, won fall tracking Wall St; US data eyed

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares and the won fell early on Friday, tracking Wall Street's losses, while investors largely took to the sidelines ahead of the US jobs report due later in the session.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 0.7 per cent at 1,970.37 points as of 0209 GMT, set to snap five days of gains. The won was down 0.4 per cent at 1,171.7 per dollar.

"Local equities are expected to go see a correction today due to offshore troubles," said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities, referring to the drop in Wall Street overnight.

Semiconductors were doing poorly with SK Hynix was down nearly 1 per cent while Samsung Electronics dropped 1.8 per cent near midday. They were shadowing US peers such as Micron Technology and Qualcomm Inc that finished down 5.4 per cent and 5.8 per cent, respectively.

Construction shares bucked the trend, trading up 1 per cent, as investors saw Opec's decision to cut oil output (and raise prices) as positive for South Korean builders with operations in the Middle East.

Mr Seo added that in addition to the US November employment report, investors will be cautiously awaiting a constitutional referendum in Italy this weekend.

Foreigners and institutions sold shares, unloading a net 40.8 billion won (S$50 million) and 30.8 billion won worth of stock near midday.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 429 to 350.

December futures on three-year treasury bonds dropped 0.10 points to trade at 109.20.

REUTERS