Seoul shares slip, investors take profit after solid U.S. data

Sun Nov 3, 2013 9:37pm EST

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(Updates to midday)

* KOSPI underperforming regional markets

* Auto, banking shares decline on profit taking

* LG Elec rise following tough month in October

SEOUL, Nov 4 (Reuters) - South Korean shares fell Monday morning, as investors consolidated gains after solid U.S. manufacturing growth increased uncertainty about when the Federal Reserve will start trimming its stimulus.

The market faced more pressure as foreign investors offloaded 71.9 billion won ($67.78 million) of local shares, repositioning as sellers after purchasing more than 170 billion won on Friday.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was down 0.4 percent at 2,031.78 points at 0210 GMT after an intraday low of 2,022.91.

"With foreign capital breaking away, investors aren't taking risks to drive the market higher," said Lee Seung-joon, an analyst at Hi Investment & Securities. "The absence of drivers will continue ahead of key global cues."

Central bank meetings in Europe and batch of U.S. data including payrolls report are due later in the week.

On Friday, the Institute for Supply Management index of U.S. factory activity rose to 18-month highs, adding to the case that the Fed may consider scaling back its stimulus sooner than some expect.

Investors, especially foreigners, locked in gains from auto shares. Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp declined 1.2 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.

The banking sector fell 2.8 percent. Hana Financial Group Inc dropped 3.5 percent, underperforming peers.

LG Electronics Inc rose 1.9 percent after its high-end smartphone gained good response from overseas markets. The stock fell 4.5 percent in October.

Rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd edged down 0.3 percent on Monday.

Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd, the largest shipbuilder in the world and market bellwether, rose 3 percent.

($1 = 1060.7500 Korean won) (Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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