Seoul shares set to snap 6-day winning streak as foreigners sell

Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:22pm EST

* Foreigners reposition as net sellers

* Hyundai Merchant Marine suffers profit taking

* NCsoft, NHN Entertainment rise on bullish Q4 earnings

SEOUL, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Seoul shares are set to snap a six-day winning streak on Thursday, as foreigners reposition as sellers, offsetting some of the positive sentiment flowing from the world's two largest economies.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was down 0.1 percent at 1,933.86 points as of 0353 GMT after hitting an intraday high of 1,944.73.

The KOSPI has risen 2.6 percent during its six-day winning streak and now faces resistance at the 1,950-point threshold, the 200-day moving average.

"The market tried to add on to the rebound but is retreating now, with foreigners remaining sellers. While market jitters have eased recently there is no new development that can generate additional momentum for the market to rise further," said Lim Dong-rak, an analyst at Hanyang Securities.

Lim added that by end-February or early March, the market will have economic indicators likely pointing to strengthening fundamentals that may lead to an uptrend.

Market sentiment was lifted by China's upbeat January trade data on Wednesday. Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen's positive view of the world's largest economy on Tuesday, in her first public comments since taking the helm of the U.S. central bank, also underpinned investor sentiment.

Meanwhile, South Korea's central bank stood pat for a ninth straight month on Thursday, as expected, and a firming economic recovery supported the consensus market view that the central bank would begin raising interest rates later this year.

Offshore investors sold a net 31 billion won ($29.2 million) worth of KOSPI shares, which weighed on the index.

Programme selling joined offshore investors, with a net 13 billion won worth being offloaded via arbitrage and non-arbitrage transactions.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 401 to 380 as some investors were seen locking in profits from the previous sessions. South Korean shipper Hyundai Merchant Marine Co Ltd dropped 5.7 percent after jumping 8.8 percent in the previous session.

On the other hand, top performers NCSoft Corp and NHN Entertainment Corp advanced 3.8 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively after announcing upbeat October-December earnings reports via regulatory filing on Thursday.

The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was down 0.1 percent, while the tech-heavy junior KOSDAQ edged 0.2 percent higher.

($1 = 1062.6000 Korean won) (Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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