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South Korea: Stocks tread water ahead of Trump inauguration; won firmer

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares nudged down early on Friday as the market players stayed on the sidelines ahead of US President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration and declines in tech giant Samsung Electronics weighed on the main index.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was down 0.2 per cent at 2,068.51 points as of 0211 GMT.

"It is hard to say that worries about Samsung Group leader Jay Y Lee are over, but at least for today, profit-taking by foreign investors seems to be the main reason for the fall in shares," said Kim Ye Eun, a stock analyst at LIG Investment & Securities.

A South Korean court on Thursday dismissed an arrest warrant against the head of Samsung Group, the country's largest conglomerate, amid a graft scandal that has led to the impeachment of President Park Geun Hye.

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Samsung Electronics, one of the Group's key shares, fell nearly 1 per cent.

The KOSPI is poised to mark further gains after Mr Trump's economic policies unfold and on upbeat fourth-quarter results from companies, Mr Kim said.

Offshore investors were set to be net buyers of KOSPI shares, but the amount was relatively small.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 500 to 290.

The South Korean won was quoted at 1,172.9 against the dollar, up 0.4 per cent compared to Thursday's close of 1,177.6.

March futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.06 point to 109.49.

REUTERS

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