November 13, 2013 / 2:50 AM / 4 years ago

Seoul shares join regional retreat on prospect of Fed tapering

(Updates to midday)

* KOSPI fall alongside regional markets

* Large caps such Samsung Elec suffer profit taking

* STX Heavy, affiliates jump on recapitalization

SEOUL, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Seoul shares lost gains made the previous day in early trade on Wednesday, mirroring a weakness round the region as uncertainty over when the U.S. Federal Reserve will finally begin trimming its stimulus programme weighed on investor sentiment.

Investors await Thursday’s U.S. Senate hearing by Fed chair nominee Janet Yellen for clarity on the U.S. central bank’s tapering timeline.

Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart had spread uncertainty on Tuesday by telling reporters that a reduction of U.S. central bank’s quantitative easing program remains a possibility at the Federal Open Market Committee’s next policy meeting on Dec. 17-18.

Reacting bearishly to the prospect, along with other regional bourses, the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 0.9 percent to 1,977.63 points as of 0215 GMT after opening 1,993.16.

The KOSPI had risen 0.9 percent on Tuesday, halting a six-day skid.

“Thursday is expected to be the market’s turning point as many expect U.S. Senate hearing of Yellen would ease the market’s downward pressure stemming from uncertainty surrounding the timeline of Fed tapering,” said Chang Hee-jong, an analyst at Hana Daetoo Securities.

Offshore investors offloaded a net 79.4 billion won ($74.11 million) of local shares in the morning, on track to extend their selling streak to an eighth session.

Large caps eased, with the sub index falling 1 percent as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd dropped 1.9 percent following a 3.2 percent rise in the past two sessions.

Lotte Chemical Corp fell 1.7 percent following a 3.4 percent gain in the previous 3 sessions.

Meanwhile, STX Heavy Industries Co Ltd soared to daily limit of 15 percent after announcing its plan to issue shares to raise 177.2 billion won on Tuesday, allocating the new shares to third parties in local banks.

Its affiliates STX Corp and STX Engine Co Ltd jumped 7.6 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively.

Ssangyong Motor Co Ltd rose 2.5 percent on hopes that Mahindra and Mahindra, its major stockholder, will invest 1 trillion won by 2017. ($1 = 1071.3750 Korean won) (Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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