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South Korea: Stocks down on market volatility, won edges up

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares declined to a near three week low on Friday morning, tracking a weaker Wall Street lead as investors kept away from risky assets.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was down 0.8 per cent at 1,984.27 points at 0204 GMT.

"Market heavyweight stocks that were leading the KOSPI's upward trend since February are now slowing down in their gains, making investors wary of the market," said Cho Byung Hyun, a stock analyst at Yuanta Securities.

"Foreigners' trading is also thin as it's difficult to tell where the markets will go next," Mr Cho added.

Offshore investors were poised to be sellers for a second session, unloading 74.5 billion Korean won (S$88 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session.

Shares were set to post their biggest weekly percentage fall since mid-February this year.

Decliners far outnumbered advancers 579 to 218.

Amid the downfall of the broader market, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd jumped over 9 per cent after signing an agreement with the world's biggest defence industry company Lockheed Martin Corp. The shares were trading up 5.4 per cent after hitting a one-month high.

Carmaker Hyundai Motor Co was down 2.7 per cent.

The South Korean won was slightly up as the impact of the Bank of Japan's decision to keep policy unchanged pressured the dollar.

The won stood at 1,137.0 per dollar, up 0.1 per cent compared to Thursday's close of 1,138.2.

On a weekly basis, the won was expected to post a fourth straight week of gains.

June futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.01 point to 110.36.

REUTERS