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South Korea won, stocks regain footing after North Korea's ICBM test

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won and shares steadied early on Wednesday, a day after North Korea test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and put the spotlight on growing tensions in the region.

North Korea said its newly-developed ICBM can carry a large nuclear warhead, triggering a call by Washington for global action to hold Pyongyang accountable for its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The won was quoted at 1,148.9 to the dollar as of 0305 GMT, inching up 0.1 per cent versus Tuesday's close of 1,150.6. The currency slumped to more than 16-week lows on Tuesday following heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was up 0.1 per cent at 2,382.68 points, after faltering late on Tuesday and closing in negative territory.

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"North Korea's success in ICBM test can have some pressure since it means improvements in (the North's) missile technology, but the test alone will only have limited impact like any other missiles launched before," said Kim Doo-un, a foreign exchange analyst at Hana Financial Investment.

Mr Kim added that investors were likely to stay on the sidelines until global events such as the US Federal Reserve's policy meeting minutes and G20 summit, which could cause market ructions, were out of the way.

Offshore investors were set to be net sellers and offloaded 62.7 billion wonworth of KOSPI shares near mid-session.

Shares of Amorepacific fell 2.6 per cent on forecast of weaker second-quarter earnings. Hyundai Motor lost nearly 2 per cent.

Advancers and decliners were roughly even at 381 to 379.

AFP

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