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South Korea: Stocks near fourth-week low on foreign stock sales

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares dropped to a four-week intraday low early on Thursday as foreign investors dumped stocks amid uncertainties concerning the US Federal Reserve's next policy decision.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was down 0.4 per cent at 2,026.29 as of 0230 GMT. The index fell to a low of 2016.47, its lowest since Aug 5, 2016.

The South Korean won edged down and was quoted at 1,118.1, down about 0.3 per cent from Wednesday's close of 1,114.8.

"The possibility of the Fed's rate hike in September will remain quite low unless US August employment data turns out to be unexpectedly strong," said Cho Byung-hyun, a stock analyst at Yuanta Securities.

Cho said the stocks will continue their downward movement until the Fed meeting this month and rebound after the event.

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South Korea's exports rebounded in August after falling for 19 straight months, but had limited impact on financial markets as the gain was mainly due to two extra working days, and fell short of signalling a firm recovery.

Offshore investors were poised to be net sellers, offloading 139.6 billion Korean won (S$170.4 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, weighing on the index.

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics dropped more than 3 per cent while web portal Naver Corp lost 2.5 per cent.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 429 to 356.

September futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.03 point to 110.78.


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