Seoul shares near 5-week low as emerging markets rattle
(Updates to mid-morning)
* Chemical shares hurt by worries over India, Indonesia
* Kia Motors shares rally on popularity of sedan in U.S.
* Samsung Elec hit by speculation over chairman's health
SEOUL, Aug 21 (Reuters) - South Korea shares gave up initial gains and touched a near five-week low on Wednesday morning, as worry about India and Indonesia's ability to stem an outflow of funds from an expected tapering in U.S. monetary stimulus jangled nerves.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was down 0.8 percent at 1,873.22 by 0216 GMT after trading as low as 1,869.80, the weakest intraday level since July 19.
"Though investors are relieved that India and Indonesia's economic conditions are better than were rumoured, concerns for a steeper decline remain as Southeast Asian markets are yet to open," said Shinhan Securities analyst Han Beom-ho. The market had speculated that the two countries were on the brink of seeking financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund, but the market talk had fizzled out.
Chemical shares Lotte Chemical Corp and LG Chem Ltd fell 6.6 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively, due to worries over India and Indonesia, their major export markets.
Tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd was down 0.4 percent, while its affiliates Samsung C&T Corp and Samsung Life Insurance Co Ltd rose 2.1 percent and 2.4 percent on media reports over the health of Samsung Electronics' chairman Lee Kun-hee. The reports sparked speculation about organisaltion changes at the conglomerate.
Samsung Group said on Wednesday Lee had been hospitalised due to pneumonia but his condition was improving and he was expected to be discharged at the weekend.
Automaker Kia Motors Corp, Hyundai's affiliate, advanced 1.8 percent on good response to its newest sedan in the U.S. market. Hyundai Motor Co gained 0.7 percent.
STX Pan Ocean Co Ltd rose 14.8 percent after Korea Development Bank said it would finance operating funds worth 200 billion won ($178.43 million) to the company on its improved financial structure late on Tuesday.
Decliners outnumbered gainers 677 to 110.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks slipped 0.8 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ dropped 2.4 percent. (Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)