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Seoul: Stocks slips to 2-week low as the market goes ex-dividend, won flat

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares sharply fell to a two-week intraday low early on Wednesday as investors' sold stocks when they went ex-dividend.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 0.7 per cent at 2,025.56 points as of 0222 GMT. It went as low as 2,020.86, lowest level since Dec 12, 2016.

"Given that there were substantial gains in the index of late, investors are taking a breather and trading cautiously after the ex-dividend date is over. Investors are also waiting for global events in January such as Donald Trump's inauguration and Federal Reserve policy meeting," said Cho Byung-Hyun, a stock analyst at Yuanta Securities.

Mr Cho added said it was a good sign for the market that foreign investors were not offloading a huge amount of shares even as economic confidence was somewhat subdued.

Market voices on:

Offshore investors were set to be net sellers, offloading a net 24.3 billion Korean won (S$29.19 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 472 to 328.

Carmaker Hyundai Motor Co lost nearly 2 per cent while Korea Electric Power Corp fell more than 4 per cent.

The South Korean won barely moved, standing at 1,207.3 to the US dollar comapared to the previous close at 1,207.6.

March futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.04 point to 109.50.