Seoul shares ease on Fed stimulus taper worry, profit-taking
(Updates to mid-morning)
* Seoul shares slip; still on track for third weekly gain
* Steelmakers and shipbuilders slide on profit taking
* Foreign inflows on track for a 16th consecutive session
SEOUL, Sept 13 (Reuters) - South Korean shares eased on Friday morning after global markets weakened on concerns over a likely tapering in U.S. monetary stimulus, while some investors repositioned to lock in profits following recent gains in the market.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 0.4 percent to 1,995.95 points by 0313 GMT. The main bourse has advanced around 2.3 percent so far this week.
"The main index has gained more than market expectations, so a slowdown ahead of the Fed meeting is no surprise at all," said SK Securities analyst Kim Young-joon, referring to the KOSPI's 6.6 percent rise in the past three weeks.
The Federal Reserve is expected to reduce its $85 billion a month bond-buying programme at its meeting next week. U.S. jobless claims fell sharply last week, but technical problems with the data further weighed on sentiment.
Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics fell 0.5 percent on profit taking, giving up some gains after rising 5 percent during its 7-day winning streak.
Steel and shipbuilding were the worst-performing sectors with losses of 1.5 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively, due to profit-taking.
Steel giant POSCO contributed to the sector's decline, falling 0.8 percent as a Reuters report said Australia's Aquila Resources Ltd -- a partner of Posco's joint venture firm AMCI (IO) Pty Ltd -- held talks to bring in new investors for an iron ore project in Western Australia.
Meanwhile, shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries Co Ltd fell 3 percent, the most amongst its peers.
Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance Co Ltd fell 3 percent after the company said late on Thursday it would purchase 354.2 billion won worth of its own shares, an expected move that triggered some investors to lock in gains.
Tongyang Inc rose 3.9 percent after a local report said it had requested financial aid from Orion Corp , an affiliate. It is also planning to issue 65 billion won worth of company bonds, of 1-1/2-year maturity from Sept. 26, in order to raise capital.
STX Engine Co Ltd slumped 3.5 percent after the company said on Thursday it decided to undergo a debt-for-equity swap, issuing 51.3 billion won worth of new shares. Its affiliate STX Corporation fell 9.6 percent.
Foreign investors were net buyers of 179.8 billion won ($165.72 million) worth of local shares, buttressing the main board. Foreign net buying totalled up to 3.5 trillion won for the week so far.
Decliners outnumbered gainers 448 to 308.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks slipped 0.5 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.3 percent higher.
($1 = 1084.9500 Korean won) (Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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