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Seoul: Stocks, won tentative on caution ahead of Fed meeting

[SEOUL] South Korean shares wobbled early on Monday, pulling back from a record high hit earlier in the session as investor caution set in ahead of next week's Federal Reserve meeting and weighed by nuclear power-related stocks.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 0.1 per cent at 2,486.05 points as of 0220 GMT. The index reached as high as 2,500.33 points to its all-time intraday high.

"Foreign demand is still quite strong and the global economy is definitely on a recovering trend, which is a very good environment for Kospi to gain further," said Kim Sung-hwan, a stock analyst at Bookook Securities.

"But some investors seem to be holding positions as the Fed's next policy meeting nears." Declining issues in Seoul bourse outnumbered advancing ones by 459 to 330.

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Shares related to nuclear reactor construction fell, reversing last week's gains, on South Korea's President Moon Jae-in's comments on Sunday that he'd continue to phase out nuclear-generated electricity. This was despite a public poll last week that showed wide public support for the resumption of nuclear construction.

Korea Electric Power Corporation dropped 2.2 per cent while KEPCO Engineering & Construction and KEPCO Plant Service each lost 7.5 per cent and 6.6 per cent, respectively.

Offshore investors were set to be net buyers of local equities and purchased 86.8 billion won (S$104.23 million) worth as they wait for this week's third-quarter earnings release of market heavyweight firms.

LG Display's July-September period earnings will be released on Wednesday while SK Hynix, LG Electronics, Posco and Hyundai Motor release will be on Thursday.

SK Hynix and LG Electronics gained 2.7 per cent and 2.3 per cent, respectively, on strong appetite among foreign investors.

The South Korean won was also slightly weaker, standing at 1,132.4 to the US dollar, down 0.1 per cent from Friday's close of 1,131.0.

December futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.13 point to 108.10.

REUTERS