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Seoul shares fall; Apple suppliers lose ground on demand worries
* Suppliers extend losses on report Apple slashing parts orders
* Auto shares rebound from recent losses
SEOUL Jan 15 (Reuters) - Seoul shares fell on Tuesday morning, with many Apple Inc suppliers extending losses into a second day after media reports said the iPhone maker had slashed orders of screens and other components on weaker-than-expected demand.
Reversing gains made in early morning trade, the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ticked 0.4 percent lower to 1,998.86 points as of 0148 GMT. The index has been trading around the 2,000 level since marking a nine-month high on Jan. 2.
"Investors are taking profits on the technology sector, which rallied for the past couple of months, while snapping up auto shares which have been lacklustre," said Kim Soo-young, an analyst at KB Investment & Securities.
Apple has asked Japan Display, Sharp and LG Display Co Ltd to roughly halve supplies of LCD panels from an initial plan for about 65 million screens in January-March, the Nikkei business daily cited people familiar with the situation as saying. The report was also matched by the Wall Street Journal.
The reports fanned fears that growth for the smartphone industry as a whole and Samsung Electronics, a chip and display supplier for Apple as well as a smartphone rival, lost 1.6 percent.
Extending losses made in the previous session on the Nikkei report, LG Display, a key panel provider to Apple, fell 2.4 percent, E-Litecom slumped 3.9 percent and Silicon Works lost 3.2 percent.
Auto shares, which have been hit by a stronger South Korean currency and slowing sales growth, rebounded. Hyundai Motor , South Korea's top automaker, rose 1.7 percent, and second-ranked Kia Motors climbed 0.4 percent. Their parts affiliate Hyundai Mobis firmed 2.2 percent.
Telecom shares, seen as defensive stocks because of their stable dividends, extended gains on earnings expectations. SK Telecom, South Korea's top mobile carrier, rose 2.5 percent, while third-placed LG Uplus gained 1.2 percent.
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