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South Korea: Stocks flat ahead of long holiday, won firms

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares were flat early on Tuesday as investors held their positions after uncertainties surrounding President Donald Trump's policies dragged US stocks.

Trading remained generally thin ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday this week.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was down 0.2 per cent at 2,061.02 points as of 0244 GMT.

"There seems to be no strong momentum for KOSPI to decide its direction till February. The market will have to see how the first Federal Open Market Committee of the year unfolds during Jan 31-Feb 1," said Cho Byung Hyun, a stock analyst at Yuanta Securities.

Offshore investors were set to be net sellers, offloading 17.8 billion Korean won (S$21.7 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, weighing on the index.

Samsung Electronics said fourth-quarter operating profit jumped 50 per cent to its highest in over three years, as record earnings in its chips business masked the negative impact of its failed Note 7 phones.

The company's shares barely moved as the market was aware of its strong December-quarter earnings in advance.

The world's biggest liquid crystal display (LCD) maker, LG Display Co Ltd said on Tuesday it reported a record fourth-quarter operating profit of 904.3 billion won due to a pickup in panel prices. The shares fell more than 2 per cent as the investors took profits.

The South Korean won strengthened 0.2 per cent from Monday's close to stand 1,162.7 to the dollar.

March futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.07 point to 109.62.


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