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Seoul: Won at 2-week high as US dollar takes breather, Samsung C&T shares slide

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won rose for a third straight session against the US dollar on Tuesday as the greenback weakened broadly after hitting a near 14-year high, with investors waiting for clues from several global events.

The won traded up 0.3 per cent against the US dollar at 1,167.3 as of 0150 GMT from its previous close.

It reached a two-week intraday high early in the session to touch its strongest since Nov 16, partly helped by some month-end US dollar sales by local exporters.

"We're still near month-end and as we saw some profit-taking against the dollar overnight, the won may strengthen a bit more today," said Jung Sung-yoon, a foreign exchange analyst at Hyundai Futures.

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The analyst doubted the won would make substantial gains as oil prices remained volatile, creating uncertainty in financial markets.

South Korean shares were flat as investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of an Opec meeting on Wednesday and Friday's referendum in Italy on constitutional reform.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was up 0.04 per cent at 1,979.13 points.

Samsung C&T Corp shares plummeted more than 6 per cent after Samsung Electronics Co Ltd announced on Tuesday it will conduct a review for an optimal corporate structure, which may not be as beneficial for Samsung C&T as previously expected by investors.

Samsung Electronics was trading up 0.2 per cent near midday.

Foreign investors were net buyers of 141.4 billion won (S$171.4 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session, offsetting net sales by institutions and retail investors worth 144.9 billion won and 2.8 billion won, respectively.

December futures on three-year treasury bonds added 0.01 points to trade at 109.30.