S.Korean won eases on risk averse sentiment, stocks edge down

Wed Jun 11, 2014 11:31pm EDT

* Won eases on weaker risk appetite
    * Stocks edge down on quadruple witching day

    SEOUL, June 12 (Reuters) - The South Korean won eased
against the dollar on Thursday morning, after the World Bank
downwardly adjusted its global growth outlook for 2014 and
appetite for the currency weakened.
    The central bank's policy meeting was also in focus.
    The local currency was quoted at 1,016.6 against
the dollar as of 0310 GMT, down 0.1 percent from Wednesday's
onshore close at 1,015.7.
    "Dollar bids were strong early in the session on some long
and short-covering plays. Supply and demand wise, however,
exporters' dollar selling is heavier," said a currency dealer at
a foreign bank.
    The World Bank on Wednesday cut this year's global growth
forecast to 2.8 percent from 3.2 percent earlier this year,
citing the effects of the Ukraine crisis and a harsh U.S.
winter. 
    Such downward adjustment pushed the safe-haven yen stronger,
with the dollar trading near a one-week low of 101.86 yen set on
Wednesday.
    The Bank of Korea held interest rates steady for a 13th
straight month on Thursday, as markets brace for a hike as soon
as next quarter, but softening domestic demand and a spike in
the won could still affect future policy prospects.
    South Korea's central bank chief at a news conference after
the policy meeting partly blamed herd behaviour for the won's
recent sharp rise, also expressing concerns over the negative
impact stemming from such appreciation.
  
    In the local stock market, the Korea Composite Stock Price
Index (KOSPI) was down 0.2 percent at 2,010.00 points as
of 0310 GMT.
    "The market is taking a breather after regaining the
pyschologically important 2,000-point threshold," said Chung
Seung-jae, a market analyst at Mirae Asset Securities. "Some
turbulence is expected towards the session-end due to options
and futures expiries, but there won't be much effect from the
World Bank's growth outlook cut as the attributed reasons are
well known factors."
    Thursday is a so-called quadruple witching day in Seoul,
when stock options and futures as well as index options and
futures, all expire on the same day. Typically, market
volatility is heightened on such a day as traders unwind
positions.
    "Investors are slowly shifting their focus towards the
upcoming second quarter corporate earnings. Whether local
corporate earnings materialise from the improving global economy
would be the key point from this point forward, especially with
the European Central Bank providing additional liquidity," Chung
added.
    Foreign investors purchased a net 15.7 billion won ($15.45
million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session. Foreigners have
positioned as net buyers for 20 straight sessions through
Wednesday, bringing in 3.5 trillion won during the period.
    According to the bourse operator, offshore investors chased
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and SK Hynix Inc
 the most during their buying spree, along with other
heavyweights such as Kia Motors Corp, Korea Electric
Power Corp and LG Electronics Inc.
    Samsung Electronics slipped 0.6 percent, and SK Hynix gained
1.6 percent.
                       0310 GMT    Prev close
 Dollar/won            1,016.6       1,015.7
 Yen/won            9.9589/520        9.9471
 *KTB futures           106.20        106.11
 KOSPI                2,010.00      2,014.67
 * Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds
    ($1 = 1016.3000 South Korean Won)

 (Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Additional reporting by KyoungHo
Lee; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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