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Seoul: Stocks dip despite foreign buying spree, won slips

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares eased on Monday as local investors kept to the sidelines ahead of US Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan policy meetings later this week, but foreigners looked set to extend their buying spree into a 13th straight session.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 0.1 per cent at 2,008.30 points as of 0210 GMT.

The Fed will start its two-day policy meeting on Tuesday, with the BOJ's on Thursday and Friday. While the Fed is not expected to make a move, the chances of further stimulus from the BOJ looks like a close call.

"There might be some hints about whether the Fed is going to raise rates in September in its July meeting; this is what market participants will hone in on," said Kim Ye-eun, a stock analyst at LIG Investment & Securities.

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Mr Kim said that stocks likely will remain little changed until uncertainties surrounding the central banks' next moves have passed.

Offshore investors' purchased a net 49.3 billion Korean won (S$59 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session, buttressing the index.

Major carmakers Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp both rose near 4 per cent.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 410 to 371.

The South Korean won was slightly lower as the greenback stayed strong on US positive economic indicator, while exporters' dollar-selling near month-end prevented the currency's further loss.

The won stood at 1,136.7 per dollar, down 0.2 per cent compared to the previous close of 1,134.4.

September futures on three-year treasury bonds were unchaged at 111.09.