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Seoul: Stocks hold soft tone on foreign selling, won up

[SEOUL] South Korean shares edged lower early on Wednesday as foreign investors took profit on market heavyweight stocks, especially in large tech firms such as SK Hynix and Samsung Electronics.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 0.1 per cent at 2,480.71 points as of 0236 GMT. The index briefly touched a record intraday high of 2,490.58 points, but soon pared gains due to foreign selling.

Chipmaker SK Hynix fell more than 4 per cent and Samsung Electronics lost one per cent.

"The investment sentiment today is not that good with declining issues far outnumbering advancing ones," said Seo Sang Young, a stock analyst at Kiwoom Securities.

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Decliners outnumbered advancers 523 to 268.

Mr Seo added that foreign investors were expected to increase their net selling of local equities.

Offshore investors offloaded a net 32.2 billion won (S$38.6 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.

Web portal Naver, however, jumped 5.5 per cent as many investors believe that its market valuation is still very low relative to its peers such as Kakao.

The South Korean won edged up following the Chinese yuan's strength in global currency markets.

The won was quoted at 1,130.3 against the US dollar, up 0.2 per cent from Tuesday's close of 1,132.5.

South Korea remained on Washington's currency practice monitoring list, but the outcome barely affected the won as it was largely expected.

The semi-annual US Treasury currency report kept China, South Korea, Japan and Germany on its monitoring list.

December futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.04 point to 108.53.

REUTERS