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Seoul: Stocks unstable on growing market uncertainties; won firmer

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares were volatile early on Monday as several worrisome issues from a looming US interest rate hike to a political crisis at home continued to pressure the market.

South Korean prosecutors said on Sunday that they believed President Park Geun Hye was an accomplice in a corruption scandal that has rocked her administration, and likely to spur calls for her to step down or be impeached.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was almost unchanged at 1,974.97 points as of 0226 GMT, but thin trading reflected investors' cautiousness.

Cho Byung Hyun, a stock analyst at Yuanta Securities said investors' were unlikely to take large positions with so many uncertainties in play.

"It means that Kospi's narrow-ranged movement will also continue amid low-volume trading," added Mr Cho.

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Foreign investors were poised to be buyers, purchasing a net 30.1 billion Korean won (S$36.34 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.

The sub-index for medical supplies fell more than one per cent while the food and beverages index lost nearly 2 per cent.

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co Ltd rose 1.1 per cent.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 621 to 180.

The South Korean won was slightly higher, standing at 1,182.5 to the US dollar, up 0.1 per cent compared to the previous close of 1,183.2.

December futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 0.06 point to 109.l30.


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