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Seoul: Stocks flat despite Samsung Electronics' record high, won edges up

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares were little changed on Wednesday and the won edge higher as investors remained cautious ahead of an ECB policy decision this week and an expected interest rate hike by the US Federal Reserve late next week.

Investors are also awaiting a vote in parliament on Friday on whether to impeach scandal-hit President Park Geun-hye.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was up 0.1 per cent at 1,999.79 points as of 0321 GMT, taking a breather after posting a 1.4 per cent jump on Tuesday.

Still, Samsung Electronics rose to a fresh high for a second straight session, gaining 1.3 per cent to 1,772,000 won near midday after the US Supreme court sided with the company in a smartphone patent fight with Apple overnight.

The South Korean won was up 0.3 per cent at 1,168.1 against the US dollar, compared with Tuesday's close to 1,171.4.

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Investors are counting down to any policy changes from the ECB which has been on a path of monetary easing, while the Fed has been trying to tighten its policies, keeping the US dollar on a firming trend and pressuring emerging market currencies.

A vast majority of investors expect the Fed to raise interest rates next week and will be looking closely for clues on its plans for 2017.

"Not many investors seems to be making changes in their positions as big policy meetings are ahead of them. Many are waiting to gauge outlook for the global economy through policy decisions," Paik Seok-hyun, a currency analyst at Shinhan Bank said.

Offshore investors net purchased 5.3 billion Korean won (S$6.4 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session, while institutional investors net sold 70.3 billion won of shares.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 562 to 256.

December futures on three-year treasury bonds 109.29.


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