S.Korean shares steady, investors cautious on Fed policy; won eases

Sun Aug 24, 2014 11:02pm EDT

* KOSPI flat as Fed's Yellen strikes less dovish stance
    * Won ticks lower as dollar resumes rally

    SEOUL, Aug 25 (Reuters) - South Korean shares were steady in
a cautious start to the week on Monday, with investors reluctant
to take big positions after Fed Chair Janet Yellen nodded to the
possibility of an early start to the rate-tightening cycle.
    "The Jackson Hole meeting sent out mixed signals to the
market, but there is definitely a more hawkish tinge to the
overall atmosphere compared to before," said Kim Yong-goo, an
analyst at Samsung Securities.
    "But there aren't any significant forces at work to swing
the market in either direction for now, so we expect shares to
hover around the 2,050 for the rest of the week," he added.
    The benchmark Korean Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was
up 0.09 percent at 2,058.49 as of 0213 GMT after a choppy
morning session. 
    Fed Chair Janet Yellen, usually known for her dovish stance
on monetary policy, said that the U.S. labour market has yet to
fully heal from the effects of the Great Recession but noted
that a faster recovery in the sector could necessitate an early
rate hike. 
    Risk appetite took a further hit after Moscow sent a convoy
of aid trucks across the border into eastern Ukraine, where
pro-Russian rebels are fighting government
forces. 
    Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co Ltd 
fell 2 percent to its lowest level in a year on worries over
lacklustre third-quarter earnings.
    "Although semi-conductor sales are up owing to a recovering
PC market, disappointing smartphone sales could result in a
sizable shortfall in earnings compared to earlier forecasts,"
said Do Hyun-woo, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities.
    Shares in Dongbu HiTek Co Ltd jumped more than
10 percent after local media said five potential bidders are
eyeing a 37 percent controlling stake in the company worth 200
billion won ($195.8 million). 
    Steel pipe manufacturer Hyundai Hysco slid more
than 5 percent after the United States imposed anti-dumping
duties on South Korea and other foreign steel pipe makers for
the energy sector. 
    The South Korean won fell as the dollar gained
traction on hints of an early Fed rate hike. 
    The local currency was trading at 1,020.9 to the
dollar as of 0213 GMT.
    September futures on three-year treasury bonds 
gained 5 basis points to trade at 106.83. 
    
                       0213 GMT    Prev close
 Dollar/won             1,020.9       1,017.7
 Yen/won              9.7965/41        9.7884
 *KTB futures            106.83        106.78
 KOSPI                 2,058.49      2,056.75
 * Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds

 (Reporting by Joonhee Yu; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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