* Benchmark index touches weakest level since Feb. 24
* Foreigners take money out for 2nd straight day
* Analysts say China, ECB events provide some support
By Se Young Lee
SEOUL, March 4 Seoul shares fell to their lowest
level in more than a week on Tuesday morning, hit by foreign
outflows and flight to safety as the escalation in tensions
between Ukraine and Russia showed no signs of abating.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was
down 0.4 percent at 1,957.82 points as of 0248 GMT. The index
traded as low as 1,954.58 earlier, marking the weakest level
since Feb. 24.
Russian forces tightened their grip on the Russian-speaking
Crimea region and the U.S. said it will look at a series of
economic and diplomatic sanctions that would isolate Moscow,
forcing investors to dispose riskier assets.
However, Mirae Asset Securities analyst Chung Seung-jae said
the selling was tempered ahead of the Chinese annual parliament
meetings and the European Central Bank policy review later this
"Investors are waiting to see what growth targets or
stimulus-related comments will be offered from China, while
there are growing expectations for additional stimulus or an
outright rate cut by the ECB," Chung said.
Foreigners were net sellers in morning trade, on track for
the second consecutive session of outflows.
Steelmakers Posco and Dongbu Steel Co.
were down 1.6 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively,
hit by continued worries that a deeper slowdown in China could
hurt demand and earnings.
Going in the opposite direction, shares of LG Innotek Co.
jumped 4.6 percent on expectations of stronger
earnings. Kiwoom Securities said in a report published on
Tuesday that profitability from the company's light emitting
diode business was improving at a faster-than-expected rate,
raising its forecast for the company's first-quarter operating
Decliners outnumbered advancers 418 to 350p.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was down 0.4
percent, while the junior KOSDAQ was 0.4 percent higher.
(Reporting by Se Young Lee; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)