* Won expected to trade in 1,035 - 1,039/dollar range
* Foreign buying caps KOSPI's falls
By Christine Kim
SEOUL, April 21 The South Korean won was
held steady in local trade early on Monday, as several markets
remained closed for the Easter holiday and as most investors
kept to the sidelines on the lookout for month-end settlements
from local exporters.
Domestic shares sagged slightly as institutions took profit
while foreigners lent support with their continued net buying.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was
down 0.3 percent at 1,998.54 points as of 0236 GMT. The won
was nearly unchanged, trading at 1,037.5 against
1,037.4 at Friday's close.
Market participants said they expected the won to trade
between 1,035 to 1,039 per dollar on Monday, as fears of
possible government intervention kept traders wary towards the
early 1,030 level.
"We're seeing no specific direction at this point in trade,
which is quiet overall," said a foreign-exchange dealer in
Seoul, who added that offshore investors' stock purchases were
slightly propping up the won.
Foreign investors were poised to be net buyers for a fifth
straight session, snapping up 33.7 billion won ($32.44 million)
worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session. Institutions sold a net
48.7 billion won worth of shares.
Most of the KOSPI's top 100 stocks fell early in the
session, with LG Innotek Co Ltd and Nexen Tire Corp
slipping more than 3 percent.
Outperforming the bourse was Lotte Chilsung Beverage Co Ltd
and KT&G Corp, both up around 3 percent.
Out of the entire bourse, decliners outnumbered advancers
455 to 305.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was down 0.3
percent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.05 percent
June futures on three-year treasury bonds ticked
down 0.02 points to trade at 105.71.
0236 GMT Prev close
Dollar/won 1,037.5 1,037.4
Yen/won 10.1042/091 10.1215
*KTB futures 105.71 105.73
KOSPI 1,998.54 2,004.28
* Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds
($1 = 1038.7500 Korean Won)
(Additional reporting by Yena Park; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)