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Seoul: Stocks, won wobble as BOJ policy meeting results awaited

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares and won lacked a firm direction on Thursday morning as the investors took to the sidelines ahead of an outcome from the Bank of Japan's policy meeting, keeping trading volume low.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was down 0.3 per cent at 2,008.83 points as of 0216 GMT.

"Shares will keep wobbling until the BOJ meeting result comes out later on the day. It is the key factor for KOSPI's next movement since the US Federal Reserve's stance was already priced in," said Kim Ye Eun, a stock analyst at LIG Investment & Securities.

"If the BOJ decides to ease monetary policy more than expected, it will probably send stocks down," Ms Kim added.

The Fed held interest rates again as expected and showed it is not in a rush to hike in June since the US economy is apparently slowing down.

South Korea finance ministry's vice minister said on Thursday the Fed's decision was as expected but the government would keep monitoring shifts in the global market.

The won was quoted at 1,147.0 against the US dollar, down 0.1 per cent compared to Wednesday's close at 1,148.3.

Offshore investors were set to snap their eleven-day buying spree and turned sellers early in the day. They sold a net 83.4 billion Korean won (S$98.12 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session.

Advancers outnumbered decliners 423 to 352.

Tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd was down 1.9 per cent as investors took profits on a three-day rising streak. The company said its first-quarter operating profit rose 12 per cent from a year earlier.

Web portal operator Naver Corp rose as much as 3 per cent as local media reported first-quarter operating profit rose 32.1 per cent compared to a year ago. It later gave in and was traded up 0.5 per cent.

June futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.06 point to 110.39.

REUTERS