(Updates to midday)
* KOSPI retreats after previous session's rebound
* Yen at over 5-year low against won, pressuring exporters
* Foreign investors reposition as net sellers
SEOUL, Dec 10 Seoul shares edged lower early on
Tuesday after a sharp rebound in the previous session, pressured
by rising speculation that the Federal Reserve could start
cutting back its stimulus this month and by a slide in the yen
against the won.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was
down 0.3 percent at 1,994.98 points by 0200 GMT after touching
an intraday low of 1,989.41. On Monday the index had risen 1
percent to snap a six-day skid.
Wall Street eked out gains for a second straight day, but
risk sentiment was hurt after Fed officials made remarks that
stimulus reduction could occur starting later in the month on
the back of recent robust economic data.
"Simply there isn't a risk variable that can outweigh the
pressure stemming from Fed tapering," said Choi Kwang-hyeok, an
analyst at E-Trade Securities.
"Also the weaker yen against the won is dragging on the auto
industry, halting the market's upward push," added Choi.
The Japanese yen hovered at an over five-year low against
the won, hurting South Korean exporters' price
competitiveness in overseas markets.
Hyundai Motor Co slipped 0.4 percent, adding to
its 11.2 percent loss over the past eight sessions. Its
affiliate Kia Motors Corp edged down 0.5 percent.
Other large-caps struggled as investors locked in gains from
the prior session.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, the largest KOSPI
component, fell 0.7 percent after Monday's 1.8 percent gain.
POSCO, the third largest, slipped 0.7 percent.
Shipbuilders gave up gains from the previous day, with
Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd shedding 1.2 percent
and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd
falling 2 percent.
Foreign investors sold a net 27.2 billion won ($25.8
million) worth of local shares near mid-session, weighing on the
Declining shares outnumbered gainers 518 to 250.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks edged 0.3
percent lower, while the junior KOSDAQ was down 0.9
($1 = 1053.0000 Korean won)
(Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Chris Gallagher)