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Seoul: Stocks flat on foreign selling, won edges up

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares were flat early on Thursday, dampened by foreign investors trimming their portfolios ahead of US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's speech this week that could signal an interest rate hike in September.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was little changed at 2,045.16 points as of 0210 GMT.

"Offshore investors are mainly dumping electricity and electronics shares, especially Samsung Electronics' stock which has pulled up the Kospi recently," said Kim Ye-eun, a stock analyst at LIG Investment & Securities.

Ms Yellen is due to speak at the global central bankers' meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Friday, and markets are focused on what she will say about US monetary policy.

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Ms Kim added that equities are expected to head upwards after the conference is over.

Foreign investors were poised to be net sellers, offloading 172.8 billion won (S$208.3 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 461 to 309.

Screenmaker LG Display Co Ltd dropped 2.4 per cent while Korea Electric Power Corp gained near 2 per cent.

The South Korean won edged up to as much as 1,119.2 per dollar in morning trade before retreating to 1,121.0, slightly firmer than Wednesday's close of 1,122.0.

September futures on three-year treasury bonds lost 0.01 point to 111.03.