* Offshore investors reposition as net buyers
* Won weakens on risk-averse sentiment
* Treasury bonds up on bets for softening economy
SEOUL, June 16 South Korean shares steadied on
Monday morning, paring earlier losses on bargain hunting in blue
chips after a sharp fall the previous session, while concerns
over unrest in Iraq subdued investor appetite.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up
0.01 percent at 1,990.96 points as of 0300 GMT after falling as
low as 1,985.30 earlier in the session.
"The unrest in Iraq is affecting market sentiment and
leaving investors jittery about the short-term crude oil price,"
said Park Suk-hyun, a market analyst at Eugene Investment &
U.S. crude oil futures rose to a near nine-month high above
$107 a barrel as an insurgency in Iraq intensified concerns over
a potential disruption to oil exports from the second-largest
South Korea's flag carrier Korean Air Lines Co Ltd
fell 2.2 percent while AK Holdings Inc,
the parent of Jeju Air Inc, dropped 2.7 percent due to the rise
in oil prices.
Crude oil refiners, on the other hand, benefited from rising
oil prices. S-Oil Corp and SK Innovation Co Ltd
rose 2.5 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.
Foreign investors purchased a net 9.4 billion won ($9.24
million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session.
Net foreign buying that lasted 21 consecutive sessions came
to an end on Friday, which brought in 3.5 trillion won and drove
the main index 4 percent higher from May 13 to June 12.
DRAM memory chip maker SK Hynix Inc advanced 1.6
percent and the country's largest web portal operator Naver Corp
gained 1 percent.
In the foreign exchange market, the won inched down against
the dollar as offshore funds opted to take short positions on
risk-averse sentiment stemming from worries over Iraq.
"Dollar bids by offshore funds are quite robust," said a
currency dealer at a foreign bank. "The dollar-selling flows by
exporters have stalled the USD/KRW pair at the 1,019 level."
The local currency was quoted at 1,019.4 versus
the dollar as of 0300 GMT, down 0.2 percent from Friday's
onshore close at 1,017.8.
0300 GMT Prev close
Dollar/won 1,019.4 1,017.8
Yen/won 10.0118/9.9657 9.9726
*KTB futures 106.35 106.34
KOSPI 1,990.96 1,990.85
* Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds
($1 = 1017.8000 South Korean Won)
(Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Additional reporting by KyoungHo