Seoul shares slip on U.S. home sales, fall in China stocks
* U.S. homes sales drop to 1-1/2 yr low
* China shares at 2-wk low pull down some stocks
* G20 meeting signals optimism, but no market impact
By Christine Kim
SEOUL, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Seoul shares were down slightly on Monday as foreigners sold stocks on soft U.S. housing data and a fall in China markets.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), which edged up to a one-month high shortly after opening, was down 0.3 percent at 1,951.13 points at 0235 GMT.
Data from the National Association of Realtors showed U.S. home resales fell to an 18-month low in January. This was attributed to severe cold weather, in line with other data showing soft U.S. growth
Choi Dong-hwan, an analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp., said he expects the Kospi to be in what he called a "stuffy" period where the index makes only small moves until mid-March.
The Seoul market wasn't moved by the communique from the two-day meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bankers in Sydney, which said they would increase investment and employment.
Offshore investors net sold 48.0 billion won ($44.78 million) of KOSPI shares near mid-session, while institutions and retailers were net buyers of 9.2 billion won and 37.6 billion worth, respectively.
Services led the fall with game development company NCSoft Corp diving 4.7 percent.
Telecommunications heavyweights SK Telecom Co Ltd and KT Corp slipped 2.2 percent and 1 percent, respectively.
Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co Ltd outperformed and was up around 1.3 percent after saying it won two orders worth a total $640 million to build eight very large gas carriers (VLGCs) for two Asia-based firms.
Decliners outnumbered advancers 420 to 347.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was down 0.3 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ was nearly flat, easing 0.1 percent. ($1 = 1072.0000 Korean won) (Editing by Richard Borsuk)