Seoul shares edge down on U.S. uncertainty; modest foreign inflows
* LG Display, LG Innotek rise on bullish iPhone sales
* Shipbuilders slip on profit-taking
* Foreign buying poised for 20th consecutive net buying day
By Jungmin Jang
SEOUL, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Seoul shares fell on Tuesday morning as uncertainty about the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy stance and an approaching deadline for Congress to approve a new debt ceiling outweighed upbeat China and euro zone manufacturing activity data.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was down 0.4 percent at 2,001.38 points at 0200 GMT after touching as low as 1,994.89.
Uncertainty stirred by the Fed's decision to postpone the start of trimming its monetary stimulus, which defied market expectations, is weighing down sentiment, analysts said.
"The Fed's curbing (stimulus) was viewed as confidence in the economy, so its passive policy stance is backfiring as it spread jitters about a slow economic recovery in the U.S.," said Hanyang Securities analyst Lim Dong-rak.
On Monday, purchasing managers' indexes showed better-than-expected manufacturing activity growth in China and euro zone in September, suggesting the global economy was on a firmer footing, while weaker U.S. factory activity curbed such optimism there.
Moreover, analysts cautioned the political showdown in U.S. could stir up volatility as the Oct. 1 deadline approaches for Congress to avert a government shutdown.
"This headwind is more than likely to discourage investors, especially foreigners, from building an aggressive position in the near term," said Ko Seung-hee, a market analyst at SK Securities.
Foreign investors maintained a modest risk appetite as they purchased 41.8 billion won ($38.92 million) worth of local shares in the morning, on track for the longest buying streak since August 2009.
Tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd fell 0.8 percent after its smartphone rival Apple Inc announced it sold more than 9 million new iPhones during their first three days in stores, prompting expectations of better earnings in subsequent quarters.
Meanwhile, suppliers for Apple Inc's iPhone line rose on the same news, with LG Display Co Ltd and LG Innotek Co Ltd rising 2.6 percent and 3 percent, respectively. Apple Inc shares rose 5 percent overnight.
Shipbuilders weighed on the main index on profit-taking following the recent rally. Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co Ltd and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd dropped 1.9 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively. Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Co Ltd led its sector peers in decline by falling 2.5 percent.
Decliners outnumbered gainers 447 to 296.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks fell 0.5 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.1 percent higher.
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