September 17, 2012 / 3:28 AM / 5 years ago

Seoul shares inch down on local investor profit-taking

* No reason to doubt future gains - analyst

* General insurers slip on typhoon damage

SEOUL, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Seoul shares edged down on Monday morning in choppy trading as the main index was tossed between local investors’ profit-taking and strong foreign investor buying spurred on by last week’s Fed action.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ticked 0.4 percent lower at 1999.65 points as of 0304 GMT.

“With much of the effects of the QE3 reflected on the index Friday, the market is seeing a technical adjustment due to profit-taking,” said Lee Da-seul, an analyst at Korea Investment & Securities.

“Although there might be measured ups and downs around the 2,000 point threshold, currently there’s no cause to doubt future gains in the main board.”

The KOSPI closed at 2,007.58 points on Friday, its highest level in five months, after U.S. Federal Reserve’s stimulus move and Standard & Poor’s upgrade of South Korea’s credit ratings fuelled investor buying.

Foreign investors net purchased 256 billion Korean won ($229 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, buttressing the index against strong local investor selling.

Oil refineries and other energy shares extended last week’s gains as analysts forecast prices will track firming global oil prices, with S-Oil up 0.5 percent and SK Innovation up 0.3 percent.

Brent crude rose nearly 0.2 percent to around $116.85 a barrel on Monday, while U.S. crude was little changed just below $99 a barrel.

Local banking stocks mirrored global counterparts by continuing their bull runs since the Fed’s stimulus announcement, with Shinhan Financial Group up 4 percent while Woori Finance Holdings rose 2.5 percent.

Meanwhile, South Korean general insurance stocks fell across the board, with Typhoon Sanba affecting the Korean peninsula and expected to cause property damage.

Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance was down 3.8 percent, while Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance fell 3.5 percent.

Declining shares barely outnumbered winners 406 to 399.

The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was down 0.5 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.4 percent lower. ($1 = 1117.0500 Korean won) (Reporting By Joyce Lee; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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