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S.Korea won edges up, stocks down ahead of Fed decision
March 15, 2017 / 2:54 AM / 8 months ago

S.Korea won edges up, stocks down ahead of Fed decision

    * Yellen's comments unlikely to be very hawkish - analyst
    * Won may gain after Fed decision - analyst

    SEOUL, March 15 (Reuters) - The South Korean won       
marginally gained in early trade on Wednesday as investors
awaited the U.S. central bank's policy decision on interest rate
expected later in the day.              
    Some market participants expect the local currency to be
resilient even if the Federal Reserve raises interest rates as
focus is shifting to the upcoming presidential election.
    South Korea is to hold presidential election by May 9 after
former president Park Geun-hye was dismissed from office last
week due to a political influence-peddling scandal.
    The won            stood at 1,147.5 against the dollar,
slightly firmer from Tuesday's close of 1,148.8.
    Strong U.S. job growth and rising wages are seen as the
green signal for the Fed to raise interest rates despite slowing
economic growth.             
    The key focus for now would be Fed Chair Janet Yellen's
comments at the press conference following the policy meeting,
said Paik Seok-hyun, a foreign exchange analyst at Shinhan Bank.
    "Her comments will probably be in range of investors'
expectations and perhaps even push the won up slightly as they
are unlikely to be very hawkish," Paik added. 
    South Korean shares edged down after a recent rally with the
Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI)         standing at
2,128.64 points, down 0.2 percent from the previous close. 
    Offshore investors were net sellers of KOSPI shares by
mid-session, snapping a seven-day buying spree. 
    The advance-decline ratio was negative with losers
outnumbering gainers 559 to 232.
    Shares of Samsung C&T             rose 1.4 percent while SK
Hynix             shed 2.5 percent. 
    March futures on three-year treasury bonds         lost 0.03
point to 109.35. 
                       0233 GMT    Prev close
 Dollar/won             1,147.5       1,148.8
 Yen/won             9.9913/983       10.0119
 *KTB futures            109.35        109.38
 KOSPI                 2,128.64      2,133.78
 * Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds
c    02:33:21        prev    pct
krw    1,147.5        1,148.8    0.1%
jpykrw    9.9913    9.9983    10.0119    0.2%
ktb    109.35        109.38    -0.03
kospi    2,128.64        2,133.78    -0.2%

 (Reporting by Dahee Kim; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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