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South Korea: Stocks edge up amid caution during joint navy drills; won down

[SEOUL] South Korean shares inched up on Tuesday morning as Washington and Seoul have begun week-long joint military drills at a time tension remains high over North Korea's nuclear and missile programme.

Foreign investors dumped steel shares to take profits following their Monday rally, which offset a rebound in major tech firms.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.1 per cent at 2,482.02 points as of 0224 GMT.

Shares of Samsung Electronics gained 1.9 per cent while Posco fell 1.6 per cent.

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"Investors are mostly on the sidelines today due to worries about possible provocations from North Korea during the US-South Korea Navy drills this week," Seo Sang Young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities, said in a note.

Offshore investors were poised to be small net sellers of Kospi shares near mid-session.

Decliners slightly outnumbered advancers, 404 to 384.

The South Korean won edged down as the dollar rose in global markets overnight.

The won stood at 1,132.1 against the dollar, down 0.4 per cent from Monday's close of 1,127.8.

December futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.01 point to 108.53.

REUTERS