S.Korea won, stocks flat; eyes on BOK Governor comments

Wed Jul 9, 2014 10:39pm EDT

* Won pares earlier gains after BOK meeting decision
    * Eyes on BOK governor's press conference
    * Stocks hold ground on lingering Q2 earnings worry

    SEOUL, July 10 (Reuters) - The South Korean won held
its ground against the dollar on Thursday morning, paring its
earlier modest gains after the Bank of Korea held its policy
rate, with investors shifting focus to a press conference by the
central bank chief.
    The local currency was quoted at 1,011.8 versus
the dollar as of 0234 GMT, nearly unchanged from Wednesday's
onshore close at 1,012.1.
    "The market is keeping an eye out for dovish comments by the
governor, which may signal a possible policy rate cut in the
near future," said Shin Eol, a fixed-income analyst at Hyundai
Securities.
    The Bank of Korea kept its policy interest rate on hold for
a 14th consecutive meeting, a widely expected move reflecting
its confidence in a sustained recovery despite recent signs of
softening. 
    Central bank chief Lee Ju-yeol said the rate decision was
not unanimous. The bank also cut the country's growth outlook to
3.8 percent from 4.0 percent. 
    Treasury bond prices reacted, with lead September futures on
three-year treasury bonds jumping 0.17 points at 106.84.
    In the stock market, the Korea Composite Stock Price Index
(KOSPI) was up 0.1 percent at 2,002.43 points as of 0234
GMT after touching an intraday low of 1,999.96.
    "The latest Fed minutes helped risk appetite for now. But
investor focus is towards earnings, and the outlook remains grim
due to the rapid appreciation in the local currency," IM
Investment & Securities analyst Kang Hyun-gee said.
    According to minutes from the June Fed meeting released on
Wednesday, the U.S. central bank acknowledged the recent
strengthening in the world's largest economy, but suggested it
was unlikely to raise policy rates until the second half of
2015. 
    Domestic institutional investors sold a net 50 billion won
($49.41 million) and looked set to extend the net selling streak
to an 8th straight session.
    Foreign investors purchased a net 21 billion won worth of
KOSPI shares near mid-session, after snapping a nine-day net
buying streak in the previous session.
    Autoparts maker Hyundai Mobis Co Ltd rose 2.2
percent while LG Electronics Inc dropped 1.5 percent
on worries about a grim April-June earnings report.    
                       0234 GMT    Prev close
 Dollar/won            1,011.8       1,012.1
 Yen/won            9.9734/675        9.9547
 *KTB futures           106.84        106.67
 KOSPI                2,002.43      2,000.50
 * Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds
($1 = 1012.0000 South Korean Won)

 (Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Stephen Coates)
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