(Updates to midday)
* KOSPI underperforming regional markets
* Auto, banking shares decline on profit taking
* LG Elec rise following tough month in October
SEOUL, Nov 4 South Korean shares fell Monday
morning, as investors consolidated gains after solid U.S.
manufacturing growth increased uncertainty about when the
Federal Reserve will start trimming its stimulus.
The market faced more pressure as foreign investors
offloaded 71.9 billion won ($67.78 million) of local shares,
repositioning as sellers after purchasing more than 170 billion
won on Friday.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was
down 0.4 percent at 2,031.78 points at 0210 GMT after an
intraday low of 2,022.91.
"With foreign capital breaking away, investors aren't taking
risks to drive the market higher," said Lee Seung-joon, an
analyst at Hi Investment & Securities. "The absence of drivers
will continue ahead of key global cues."
Central bank meetings in Europe and batch of U.S. data
including payrolls report are due later in the week.
On Friday, the Institute for Supply Management index of U.S.
factory activity rose to 18-month highs, adding to the case that
the Fed may consider scaling back its stimulus sooner than some
Investors, especially foreigners, locked in gains from auto
shares. Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp
declined 1.2 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.
The banking sector fell 2.8 percent. Hana
Financial Group Inc dropped 3.5 percent,
LG Electronics Inc rose 1.9 percent after its
high-end smartphone gained good response from overseas markets.
The stock fell 4.5 percent in October.
Rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd edged down 0.3
percent on Monday.
Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd, the largest
shipbuilder in the world and market bellwether, rose 3 percent.
($1 = 1060.7500 Korean won)
(Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Richard Borsuk)