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Seoul shares dip 1.43 pct on Fed uncertainties

South Korean stocks declined 1.43 percent Thursday, snapping its three-day streak of gains, as uncertainties over U.S. Federal Reserve's next move regarding its stimulus cut stoked renewed fear among investors, analysts said.

The local currency fell slightly against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) retreated 29.49 points to finish at 2,030.09. Trading volume was light at 241.9 million shares worth 4.01 trillion won ($3.78billion) with decliners far outpacing gainers 541 to 270.

KOSPI ended its record-long foreign buying spree that had been extended for the 44th consecutive session until Wednesday, as overseas investors dumped local shares worth 85 billion won.

Analysts mainly cited the Fed's vague stance on its plan to scale back the bond-buying program, although it stated that the stimulus will be held steady for the time being.

"The Fed didn't present a clear direction as to how or when they'll start the tapering, and the fact that (Fed Chairman Ben) Bernanke did not take any questions after the FOMC left investors with even more uncertainties," said Han Beom-ho, an analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp, referring to the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.

Fresh uncertainties in the stock market drove top-cap shares down. Tech giant Samsung Electronics sank 2.33 percent to 1,465,000 won, and Hyundai Motor slumped 3.07 percent to 253,000 won. Top Internet portal provider NAVER tumbled 5.24 percent to 597,000 won.

Korean Air Lines, the nation's top air carrier, plunged 7.72 percent to 34,050 won, following media reports the previous day that the firm decided to provide liquidity worth 150 billion won to its troubled affiliate Hanjin Shipping.

In contrast, domestic-focused shares rose. E-Mart, a major supermarket chain, jumped 3.25 percent to 254,000 won, with No. 3 mobile carrier LG Uplus soaring 3.85 percent to 12,150 won.

The local currency ended at 1,060.70 won against the greenback, down 0.5 won from Wednesday's close, as foreigners opted to unload their holdings in local equities, dealers said. (Yonhap News)

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