August 25, 2017 / 3:10 AM / a year ago

S.Korea won edges down, stocks rise as Samsung verdict looms

    * Samsung Elec down ahead of court ruling on vice chair Jay
Y. Lee
    * Investors warily await Jackson Hole central bankers

    SEOUL, Aug 25 (Reuters) - The South Korean won        inched
down on Friday while shares edged up as investors awaited a
court ruling in the bribery trial of Samsung Electronics vice
chairman Jay Y. Lee later in the day.
    The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI)         was up
0.2 percent at 2,380.48 points.    
    Samsung Electronics             skidded 0.7 percent after
opening slightly higher.
    "It is mostly profit-taking by foreign investors that is
dragging Samsung Electronics shares down," said Seo Sang-young,
a stock analyst at Kiwoom Securities.
    Seo added that market players are aware that the company has
been doing well even with the absence of its vice chairman.
    But some investors worry that a possible conviction and long
jail term could leave a leadership vacuum, with no one to take
the big decisions at Samsung, which has over five dozen
affiliate companies and assets of 363.2 trillion won.
    Its listed companies make up around 30 percent of the market
value of South Korea's KOSPI index.
    Lee, 49, has been in detention since February, on trial for
charges ranging from embezzlement to perjury in a scandal that
prompted the ouster of the country's ex-president Park Geun-hye.
    Whatever Friday's verdict, lawyers expect an appeal which
could go all the way to the Supreme Court, with a final ruling
probably next year.             
    Other Samsung group shares were mostly on the rise. Samsung
Biologic Co Ltd             rose 3.8 percent, after its version
of arthritis drug Humira with its joint venture partner Biogen
         was approved by European Union regulators.             
    Samsung Heavy             gained 5.1 percent after it won an
order worth 309 billion won.             
    Investors were also wary ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's
weekly central banking conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming,
which could offer hints about global monetary policy.
    "Market players cannot but stay cautious as it is quite hard
to predict what would come out from either (Fed Chair) Janet
Yellen or (European Central Bank President) Mario Draghi's
speeches at the meeting," said Jung Sung-yoon, a foreign
exchange analyst at Hyundai Futures.
    Offshore investors purchased a net 34.9 billion won ($30.87
million) of KOSPI shares near mid-session.
    Advancers outnumbered decliners 415 to 348.
    The won            stood at 1,130.3 against the dollar as of
0226 GMT, down 0.2 percent compared to Thursday's close of
    September futures on three-year treasury bonds        
gained 0.13 point to 109.24. 
                       0226 GMT    Prev close
 Dollar/won             1,130.3       1,127.9
 Yen/won             10.3064/10       10.2878
 *KTB futures            109.24        109.11
 KOSPI                 2,379.04      2,375.84
 * Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds

 (Reporting by Dahee Kim; Editing by Lisa Twaronite and Richard
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