September 19, 2017 / 3:27 AM / a year ago

South Korea steel, auto stocks surge but won weaker on Fed caution

    * Some investors take profits from Monday's huge gains
    * Index heavyweights such as Posco still mark gains
    * Foreign investors seen likely to be net sellers

    SEOUL, Sept 19 (Reuters) - South Korean shares went in and
out of negative territory early on Tuesday as caution before the
U.S. Federal Reserve's policy meeting later in the day offset
gains in some heavyweight stocks.
    The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI)         was
almost unchanged at 2,417.33 points from Monday's 2,418.21
points as of 0153 GMT.
    Steelmaker Posco             rose more than 4 percent to a
one-month high on expectations that the company is on track for
better quarterly earnings.             
    Automobile manufacturer Hyundai Motor             gained
nearly 3 percent while the sub-index for transport equipment
that includes auto and auto parts makers         rose more than
2 percent. 
    "Some investors are taking profits from the Seoul market 
after the KOSPI soared yesterday and they're watching what could
come out of the Fed's policy meeting," said Lee Kyung-min, a
stock analyst at Daishin Securities.
    Investors believe the Fed will hold rates at the two-day
meeting, but are eager for clues to whether the Fed will hike
rates this year and begin to reduce its bond portfolio as a step
to normalising monetary policy. 
    Concerns over the Fed pressured the South Korean won       
to 1,130.30 to the dollar at 0217 gmt, down 0.3 percent versus
Monday's close of 1,126.6
    Foreign investors were set to be net sellers, offloading
60.7 billion Korean won ($53.73 million) worth of KOSPI shares
near mid-session, weighing on the index. 
    Decliners slightly outnumbered advancers 396 to 379.
    September futures on three-year treasury bonds         shed
0.02 point to 109.36. 
                       0153 GMT    Prev close
 Dollar/won             1,129.9       1,126.6
 Yen/won             10.1280/97       10.1170
 *KTB futures            109.36        109.38
 KOSPI                 2,417.33      2,418.21
 * Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds

 (Reporting by Dahee Kim; Editing by Eric Meijer)
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