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Seoul: Stocks fall again on worries about North Korea

[SEOUL] South Korean shares, down the past four sessions, fell again early on Wednesday as worries about North Korea continued to hurt overall market sentiment.

Also hurting the market were concerns about China sales for South Korean automakers.

A top North Korean diplomat on Tuesday warned that his country is ready to send "more gift packages" to the United States as world powers struggled for a response to Pyongyang's latest nuclear weapons test.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 0.3 per cent at 2,319.31 points as of 0222 GMT.

The South Korean won was flat at 1,131.5 against the US dollar. Tuesday's close was 1,131.1.

"Now that North Korea issues have been underlying in the markets for quite a while, shares are showing mixed movements while still closely eyeing further risks from the North," said Rhoo Yong Seok, a stock analyst at KB Securities.

The sub-index for transport equipment fell as much as 2.2 per cent to its weakest since July of 2015 as concerns about Chinese sales sparked foreign sell-off.

Market heavyweight Hyundai Motor fell as much as 3.3 per cent to the lowest intraday level since Dec 5.

On Tuesday, it said one of its factories in China was halted again after a German supplier refused to provide parts due to delays in payment.

Affiliate Kia Motors lost nearly 4 per cent to their lowest level in seven years.

The sub-index for electric and electronics , gained nearly one per cent with large foreign purchases of SK Hynix shares on expectations of stronger third quarter earnings.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 472 to 311.

Offshore investors sold a net 159.5 billion won (S$191.10 million) of Kospi shares near mid-session.

September futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.05 point to 109.27.