South Korea shares little changed as investors seek post-Fed catalyst

Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:04am EDT

* Blue-chips mixed as market reactions to BOJ move

SEOUL, Sept 19 (Reuters) - South Korean shares were little changed on Wednesday as investors continued to take profits from last week's rally sparked by fresh stimulus from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.03 percent at 2,005.54 points as of 0355 GMT.

"Most events the market had been waiting for are concluded for now, and the main board is naturally pausing near the 2,000-point level to digest accumulated selling pressure," said Lee Jin-woo, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities.

After spending the entire morning in negative territory, Bank of Japan's announcement of further policy easing by once again expanding its asset buying programme caused the KOSPI to edge up over the 2,000-point threshold into positive territory.

Blue chips were mixed, with market heavyweight Samsung Electronics easing slightly after closing flat in the previous session.

Oil refiners pared multisession gains as global oil prices pulled back from recent highs, with SK Innovation falling 1.7 percent while S-Oil dropped 2.2 percent.

Oil futures were mixed early on Wednesday, with U.S. crude up 0.2 percent at 95.51 a barrel and Brent crude down 0.3 percent at $111.74.

Airlines saw strong gains, with Korean Air Lines rising 2.1 percent and Asiana Airlines up 3.1 percent, as analysts forecast the recent firming of the South Korean won against the dollar would lead to increased demand for overseas travel.

The South Korean won has stayed mostly flat after charging up to a six-month high last Friday after the Federal Reserve announced its third round of bond-buying.

Local institutional investors net sold 62.3 billion won ($56 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, weighing on the index.

Declining shares barely outnumbered winners 404 to 396.

The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was up 0.07 0.4 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ 0.6 percent higher. ($1 = 1118.3250 Korean won) (Reporting By Joyce Lee; Editing by Kim Coghill) (jungyoon.lee@thomsonreuters.com; +82 2 3704 5609; Reuters Messaging: jungyoon.lee.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)

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