* Fed decision, Ukraine, China leave investors cautious
* Foreign investors are net buyers early on Wednesday
By Se Young Lee
SEOUL, March 19 Seoul shares were little changed
on Wednesday morning as investors stayed on the sidelines and
awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy decision due later in
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was
down 0.1 percent at 1,939.05 points as of 0233 GMT, following
two straight days of gains. The index briefly traded as high as
1,948.15 in early trade, its strongest level since March 12, but
soon eased back amid a lack of firm cues.
The Fed is widely expected to continue reducing the size of
its monthly bond purchases by $10 billion at the end of its
two-day policy meeting, and investors are closely watching for
the central bank's forward guidance for clues on future policy.
"At this point there are many variables like Ukraine, China
and the FOMC, so I think the market is in a wait-and-see mode
rather than actively moving in one direction," said SK
Securities analyst Ko Seung-hee.
Investors remained wary about a potential escalation of
conflict in Ukraine, although Russian President Vladimir Putin's
comment that the country does not plan to take control of any
other regions other than Crimea appeared to allay some concerns.
Foreigners were net buyers of South Korean stocks in early
trade, following seven consecutive sessions of outflows, though
the amount of Wednesday's inflows was small.
Large-cap stocks LG Display Co and Samsung
Electronics Co were each down 0.6 percent, giving up
some of their gains from the previous day on profit-taking.
But shares of Dongbu Steel Co and Posco
rose 2.5 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, as
some investors were hunting for bargains following the
steelmakers' recent declines.
Decliners outnumbered advancers 403 to 370.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was down 0.1
percent, while the junior KOSDAQ was virtually flat.
(Reporting by Se Young Lee; Editing by Chris Gallagher)