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Seoul: Won, stocks steady before US poll; domestic woes in focus

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won and shares held steady on Tuesday, with investors adopting a cautious stance ahead of the US presidential election and amid a deepening political crisis at home.

South Korean prosecutors raided the offices of Samsung Electronics on Tuesday, as part of a probe over a political scandal involving President Park Geun Hye and her friend, who is alleged to have exerted improper influence in state affairs.

The won stood at 1,139.7 against the US dollar as of 0219 GMT, up 0.3 per cent compared with Monday's close of 1,143.1.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was flat at 1,997.53 points by 0248 GMT.

Market voices on:

Samsung Electronics' shares were slightly down by 0.2 per cent.

"Hillary Clinton's victory may bring a moderate boost for the won, but extending past the 1,130 level will be unlikely since the victory would point to an increased possibility of Federal Reserve's December rate hike," said Ha Keon Hyeong, a foreign exchange analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp.

Ha added that market sentiment will also be swayed by unfolding political events at home linked to the president.

Offshore investors were poised to be net sellers, offloading 32.2 billion won (S$39.31 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session, weighing on the index.

South Korea said on Tuesday that 94 out of 97 Hanjin Shipping Co Ltd's container ships have completed unloading as of Nov 7, and its shares rose 0.6 per cent.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 426 to 345.

December futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.06 point to 110.40.