Seoul shares edge lower as strike fears drag on auto shares

Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:01pm EDT

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(Updates to midday)

* Trade lacklustre as investors await FOMC minutes

* Auto shares fall on strike worries

* Hyundai Group shares rise on inter-Korean cooperation hopes

SEOUL, Aug 19 (Reuters) - South Korea shares edged lower on Monday as shares in Hyundai Motor Co, the second-largest company by market capitalisation, fell on a possible walkout by unionised workers in South Korea.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was down 0.2 percent at 1,916.67 points as of 0200 GMT, climbing back up from an intraday low 1,909.80.

Market indexes were also affected by caution on the minutes of U.S. Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee's July meeting that may reveal new clues on its tapering schedule, analysts said. The minutes are due on Wednesday.

"The FOMC minutes will be the trigger for major movements in the market," said KB Investment & Securities analyst Moon Jeong-hee. "Before its release, the market will be stalled for the most part."

Automaker Hyundai Motor Co fell 1.5 percent after working-level wage talks between the labour union and company soured on Sunday, raising fears of a prolonged strike. Kia Motors Corp, Hyundai's affiliate, slid 1.1 percent.

Technology shares fell, with memory chipmaker SK Hynix Inc down 1.2 percent and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd , the largest company by market capitalisation, dipping 0.9 percent.

Energy storage system-related firms Samsung SDI and POSCO ICT Co Ltd rose 3.9 percent and 6.3 percent after the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced a demand-side energy management policy on Sunday that is likely to boost ESS sales.

Shares of Hyundai Group affiliates Hyundai Merchant Marine Co and Hyundai Elevator Co Ltd rose 12.4 percent and 10.3 percent respectively on hopes that the conglomerate's North Korea tourism project will resume after North Korea accepted a South Korean offer to hold working-level talks on restarting reunions for families separated by Korean War on Sunday.

Decliners outnumbered gainers 404 to 343.

The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks slipped 0.2 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.3 percent higher. (Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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