S. Korean shares down late Fri. morning

South Korean shares traded slightly lower late Friday morning ahead of the earnings season. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) had shed 5.77 points, or 0.22 percent, to 2,534.50 as of 11:20 a.m. The KOSPI has been on a seven-day losing streak amid concerns over slow economic recovery. Top-cap Samsung Electronics has forecast its operating profit to have shrunk 35 percent from a year earlier in the fourth quarter. Samsung Electronics added 0.27 percent, but other large caps traded mixed. Top mobile service provider SK Telecom gained 0.2 percent, while leading chemicals maker LG Chem tumbled 1.63 percent with top drug maker Celltrion plunging 2.63 percent. Leading automaker Hyundai Motor lost 0.11 percent, while its smaller affiliate Kia Motors retreated 1.11 percent. The local currency was trading at 1,314.50 won against the U.S. dollar, down 1.60 won from the previous session's close. Source: Yonhap News Agency