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Seoul shares turn lower after strong open

South Korean stocks shifted to negative territory after opening higher as investors took to the sidelines ahead of the expected release of U.S. jobs data this weekend, analysts said Friday.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 3.62 points, or 0.18 percent, to 1,958.32 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics slipped 0.14 percent and top oil refiner SK Innovation fell 1.46 percent.

In contrast, autos outperformed the KOSPI, with auto-parts maker Hyundai Mobis gaining 2.28 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,088.85 won to the U.S. dollar as of 9:15 a.m., up 0.15 won from Thursday's close. (Yonhap News)