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Seoul: Shares and won steady ahead of Fed policy meeting


[SEOUL] South Korean shares and the won treaded water early Tuesday as most investors refrained from making big bets ahead of this week's policy meeting of the US Federal Reserve.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) stood at 2,041.43 points as of 0244 GMT, little changed from the previous close at 2,048.08.

On the currency market, the South Korean won was quoted at 1,133.0 per dollar, slightly higher than Monday's close of 1,133.8.

"Of all the concerns affecting markets today, the biggest one is the what Fed statement will say about the timing of the pending US rate hike," said Lee Jae-man, an analyst at Hana Daetoo Securities in Seoul.

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The Fed's Federal Open Market Committee's two-day meeting will start later in the global day and end on Wednesday.

Mr Lee added that investors would also eye China's new five-year plan and a Bank of Japan policy announcement later in the week as South Korea's export performance is heavily dependent on neighbouring countries, especially China.

The analyst was referring to the Chinese Communist Party's central committee meeting from Monday to Thursday to set out a five-year plan that will focus on financial reforms and maintaining annual economic growth of around 7 per cent.

Near mid-session on South Korea's stock exchange, foreign investors were net sellers of 25.4 billion won (S$31.22 million) of KOSPI shares. They were net buyers the past two sessions.

Hyundai Heavy Industries shares were up six per cent as investors hunted for bargains after the company announced poor third-quarter earnings on Monday.

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd ticked up 0.1 per cent as investors largely ignored its announcement about targetting US$10 billion in air conditioner sales by 2020.

On the local bond market, December futures on three-year treasury bonds were up 0.04 points at 109.70.