* Upbeat jobs data to largely support March rate hike
* Won's sudden drop unlikely due to foreign demand for
SEOUL, March 8 The South Korean won eased
early on Wednesday, reducing previous sharp gains while some
investors took to the sidelines ahead of U.S. February
employment data due at the end of the week.
The won was quoted at 1,149.8 as of 0217 GMT,
down 0.3 percent compared to Tuesday's close of 1,146.1.
"Upbeat jobs data will be a big support for the U.S. Federal
Reserve to increase rates next week, keeping the dollar strong
globally," said Ha Keon-hyeong, a foreign exchange analyst at
Shinhan Investment Corp.
He added that even if Friday's jobs data is upbeat and
supports the dollar, the won should not fall that much as
offshore investor interest in Korean stocks will maintain demand
for the local currency.
South Korean shares also slipped on Wednesday, with the
Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) down 0.1
percent at 2,092.79 points.
Offshore investors were on track to be net buyers for the
day, purchasing 19.8 billion Korean won ($17.22 million) of
KOSPI shares near mid-session.
Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics rose 1
percent, touching a record high.
Steelmaker Posco gained 1.7 percent while
automobile manufacturer Hyundai Motor was down 1
Decliners outnumbered advancers 484 to 294.
March futures on three-year treasury bonds gained
0.03 point to 109.21.
0217 GMT Prev close
Dollar/won 1,149.8 1,146.1
Yen/won 10.0993/37 10.0839
*KTB futures 109.21 109.18
KOSPI 2,092.79 2,094.05
* Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds
(Reporting by Dahee Kim; Editing by Richard Borsuk)