Seoul shares edge lower on Fed tapering speculation
* KOSPI on track to a 5-session skid
* Foreigners continue to weigh the main index by net selling
* Bargain seekers pick up Naver, LG Display to support
SEOUL, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Seoul shares edged lower in choppy trading on Thursday morning, with a cluster of robust U.S. data sparking yet more speculation over how soon the Federal Reserve might begin to trim its stimulus programme.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ticked 0.3 percent lower at 1,980.57 points as of 0230 GMT after touching an intraday low of 1,979.44, its lowest since Nov.14.
"Fed tapering talk is remaining in the headlines after a batch of upbeat U.S. data was released overnight, pressuring investors to hold off taking on risk," said Choi Kwang-hyeok, an analyst at E-Trade Securities.
An ADP National Employment Report on Wednesday said U.S. private-sector hiring in November rose at the fastest clip in a year, while separate data showed U.S. exports hit an all-time high in October and new home sales recorded their biggest increase in nearly 33-1/2 years in October.
Although the reading was weaker than expected, a survey of U.S. services index marked 53.9, the 47th straight month of growth in the sector.
The data suggested a brightening outlook for the world's largest economy, raising fears of an early Fed cutback. Important non-farm payroll data due on Friday may provide a clue to its intentions.
However, the KOSPI fall was limited by bargain hunting following the market's four-day skid.
Naver, South Korea's largest search portal operator, rose 1.5 percent on bargain hunting, after declining for four straight days. Affiliate NHN Entertainment Corp advanced 3.3 percent.
Flat-screen maker LG Display Co Ltd rose 1.1 percent, after falling more than 4.5 percent in the previous two sessions.
Shipbuilders struggled, with Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Co Ltd and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd falling 2.1 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.
Foreign investors net sold 104.9 billion won ($98.92 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, weighing on the index.
Declining shares outnumbered gainers 416 to 332.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks slipped 0.2 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ stayed flat. ($1 = 1060.4000 Korean won)
(Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Eric Meijer)
- Search planes scour sea for missing Malaysian jetliner |
- Timeline: Malaysia Airlines flight to Beijing missing in Asia
- Missing Malaysian jet may have disintegrated in mid-air: source |
- Exclusive: Malaysia plane probe narrows on mid-air disintegration - source
- Mexico kills drug kingpin reported dead years ago: official