* Fed minutes reflect confidence in U.S. economic recovery
* Naver Corp stocks plummet on Facebook's acquisition of
* Seoul stocks edge down to 1-week low
By Christine Kim
SEOUL, Feb 20 Seoul shares fell for a second
session early on Thursday, sagging after minutes from the U.S.
Federal Reserve's January meeting showed the central bank was
sticking to its plan to keep trimming stimulus.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was
down 0.4 percent at 1,934.93 points as of 0200 GMT. It edged
down to 1,931.51 points to mark a one-week low.
"Local stocks have been moving listlessly, with no single
sector standing out to lead trade," said Chun Jung-hoon, an
analyst at Kiwoom Securities in Seoul.
"The KOSPI is likely to continue this tepid movement while
seeing capped gains...we will probably see some clear direction
in the market in March or April once (U.S. economic indicators)
are clear of seasonal influences."
The Fed minutes showed late on Wednesday members of the
Fed's policy setting committee stressed their commitment to
steadily dial down its bond-buying programme.
It reflected the Fed's confidence in growth, despite recent
weak economic indicators that some analysts have attributed to
unusually cold weather in the United States.
Foreign investors were net sellers of 122.6 billion won
($115.06 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, which
weighed on the index.
Decliners outnumbered advancers 424 to 347.
Services dragged the main bourse down, with Naver Corp
leading the decline, down 6.0 percent, on news
Facebook will acquire mobile-messaging start-up WhatsApp
for $19 billion.
Naver Corp's chat service LINE was seen as threatened by the
acquisition, analysts said, prompting investors to dump the
"The size of Facebook's acquisition of Whatsapp came as a
surprise, applying pressure to its global competitors including
LINE," IM Investment & Securities analyst Lee Jong-won said.
"However, the stock will rebound as the target market and
income platforms differ between Whatsapp and LINE."
Meanwhile, the construction sector outperformed the bourse
after the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said in
a report to parliament on Wednesday it would ease restrictions
on the housing sector.
Daewoo Engineering & Construction led the
sector's gains, jumping 6.4 percent.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was down 0.6
percent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.4 percent
($1 = 1065.5500 Korean won)
(Additional reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Jacqueline