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Seoul: Stocks, won fall on China worries; ECB in focus


[SEOUL] South Korean shares fell early on Monday, pressured by a tumble in Chinese markets the previous session and as investors braced for possibly more volatility ahead of Chinese surveys on manufacturing and services.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 1.7 per cent to 1,995.04 points as of 0249 GMT. Declining issues outnumbered advancers by 4-to-1.

China's official manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) will be released on Tuesday along with the official services PMI.

"We are likely to see improvements in China's PMI data, which will come out tomorrow. Then, it should be positive for the domestic market," said Cho Byung-hyun, a stock analyst at Yuanta Securities.

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Technology stocks, which include electric and electronics and construction, underperformed on the main bourse after industrial output in October fell by a seasonally adjusted 1.4 per cent from September Tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd fell 2.7 per cent. LG Display Co Ltd, a leading global supplier of display panels, fell 1.8 per cent. Steelmaker POSCO lost 0.6 per cent.

Meanwhile, Kakao Corp and KT Corp gained 5.2 per cent and 2.0 per cent, respectively as the two companies won preliminary approval for their bid to set up South Korea's first Internet-only bank on Sunday.

Foreign investors sold a net 226.1 billion won worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, weighing on the index.

In the currency market, the South Korean won fell against the dollar as the European Central Bank is expected to announce more stimulus measures at its policy meeting on Thursday.

The won was down 0.3 per cent at 1,156.5 per dollar from the previous close of 1,153.0.

"Investors will be in a risk-on mood again if the ECB announces stimulus on Thursday," said Park Yuna, a foreign exchange analyst at Dongbu Securities.

December futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.05 points to 109.22.