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Seoul: Won, stocks sag as market cool ahead of Yellen speech, Trump inauguration

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won and shares fell early on Monday as investors cashed in on gains made last week ahead of a key speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Tuesday that could boost the US dollar.

With US president-elect Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday expected to bring uncertainty to markets later this week, the won was quoted at 1,178.7 against the US dollar as of 0241 GMT, down 0.3 per cent compared to Friday's close of 1,174.7.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 0.4 per cent at 2,067.49 points.

"Market players are expecting those two events (Yellen's speech and Trump's inauguration) will likely boost the greenback again," said Park Sung-woo, a foreign exchange analyst at NH Futures.

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Offshore investors were set to be net sellers of stocks, offloading 61.7 billion Korean won (S$74.8 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session, weighing on the index.

The sub-index for electric and electronics companies fell nearly 1 per cent as market heavyweight Samsung Electronics dropped 1 per cent and SK Hynix more than 2 per cent.

Decliners far outnumbered advancers 601 to 207.

March futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 0.05 point to 109.62.


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