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Seoul: Stocks, won extend losses on North Korea jitters


[SEOUL] South Korean shares extended losses and sank to a seven-week low on Thursday as foreign investors continued to reduce their positions as tensions escalated between the United States and North Korea.

The won fell 0.5 per cent, also extending losses from the previous session.

Sabre-rattling between the two sides continued on Thursday as North Korea outlined detailed plans for a missile strike near the US Pacific territory of Guam before the market opened.

It dismissed a warning by US President Donald Trump earlier this week that it would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States as a "load of nonsense".

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The tough talk sent global markets skidding on Wednesday, with selling pressure abating somewhat overnight before resuming on Thursday.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 1.2 per cent at 2,339.97 points by 0337 GMT, the lowest since June 21, after skidding 1.1 per cent on Wednesday.

Some traders said foreign investors had already been looking for a reason to take profits after the benchmark index had climbed nearly 20 per cent so far this year.

Offshore investors sold a net 176.7 billion Korean won (S$211.57 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session. They unloaded nearly 260 billion won of shares on Wednesday.

Domestic institutions, however, purchased a net 241 billion won worth of stocks.

Decliners outnumbered far advancers 671 to 149.

Market heavyweight SK Hynix and Samsung Electronics both fell nearly 1 per cent.

The South Korean won hovered at a four-week low.

The won stood at 1,141.5 against the US dollar, its lowest intraday trading level since July 12. It fell 0.9 per cent on Wednesday.

September futures on three-year treasury bonds lost 0.01 point to 109.01.