S.Korean stocks slip on profit taking, won eases

Mon May 19, 2014 11:05pm EDT

* KOSPI undergoes correction after a 3.8 pct rise in 8 days
    * Won on track to snap a 3-day winning streak

    SEOUL, May 20 (Reuters) - South Korean shares slipped early
on Tuesday on profit taking after recent gains and ahead of
global economic indicators, while the won eased on dollar
demand by importers.
    The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was
down 0.5 percent at 2,005.83 points as of 0235 GMT, after rising
3.8 percent in the past eight sessions on the back of robust
foreign capital inflows.
    "The market is taking a breather following a run, but the
upward momentum remains constructive with continuing foreign
inflows," said Hanyang Securities analyst Lim Dong-rak.
    Foreign investors have purchased nearly 1.6 trillion won
($1.57 billion) worth of KOSPI share for five straight sessions
by Monday, and bought a net 76 billion won by midday. Local
institutional investors, however, sold a net 79 billion won.
    "Should the global economic indicators due later this week
come out strong, it may add more volume to the foreign flows in
the near term. The market still needs consistent signals from
the U.S. and China to test higher levels," he added.
    Investors are awaiting minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's
last policy meeting and factory activity surveys for China, the
European Union and the United States due to be released on
Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.
    Hyundai Motor Co dropped 1.9 percent and Samsung
Fire & Marine Insurance Co Ltd fell 3 percent.
    Meanwhile, steelmaker POSCO slipped 1.1 percent
after it indicated it might sell a stake in its trading arm
Daewoo International Corp as part of restructuring
plans aimed at shoring up its finances. Daewoo
International edged down 0.4 percent.
    The won was set to snap its three-day winning streak
against the dollar, in line with weakness in regional
currencies, and as demand for dollars from importers prompted
some buying on dips.
    "Amid intervention caution, the stop-loss selling has dried
out ahead of the 1,020 level and flow wise importers' dollar
demand is coming out strong," one currency dealer said.
    "Some dollar buying on dips are also detected."
    The local currency was quoted at 1,023.3 per
dollar as of 0235 GMT, down 0.1 percent from Monday's onshore
close at 1,022.0.
    The rapid appreciation in the won has alarmed the South
Korean foreign exchange authorities, who were spotted 
purchasing dollars to tame the pace of its strength.
    The won has risen more than 4 percent this quarter,
breaching a near-six year high.    
                       0235 GMT    Prev close
 Dollar/won            1,023.3       1,022.0
 Yen/won           10.0788/738       10.0611
 *KTB futures           105.97        106.01
 KOSPI                2,005.83      2,015.14
 * Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds
    ($1 = 1021.9500 Korean Won)

 (Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Additional reporting by Yena Park;
Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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