Round-up of South Korean financial markets:


** South Korean shares fell on Tuesday on profit-taking, giving up their sharp gains from a recent rally driven by automakers and financial stocks.

** The benchmark KOSPI closed down 22.47 points, or 0.84%, at 2,657.79, after falling as much as 1.36% earlier.

** The fall came after hitting a more than 20-month high on Monday amid investor optimism around the government's corporate reform plans due to be announced on Feb. 26.

** "The market took a breather after sharp short-term gains, with investors adopting a wait-and-see stance ahead of the official announcement of the 'value-up' programme next week," said Lee Kyoung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities.

** Automakers and banks, which led the recent rally of undervalued stocks, fell sharply. Hyundai Motor dropped 4.16% and sister automaker Kia Corp lost 1.28%, while the Korea Exchange Bank Index was down more than 3%.

** The Bank of Korea will keep its key policy rate on hold for a ninth consecutive meeting on Thursday, according to all economists polled by Reuters, who stuck to their long-held view the first rate cut would come in the third quarter.

** Among other index heavyweights, chipmaker Samsung Electronics fell 0.68% and peer SK Hynix lost 1.12%, but battery maker LG Energy Solution rose 1.64%.

** Of the total 935 traded issues, 280 shares advanced, while 592 declined.

** Foreigners were net buyers of shares worth 98.8 billion won ($73.85 million) on the main board, brining their month-to-date purchase to 6.7 trillion won.

** The won ended onshore trade at 1,337.6 per dollar, 0.18% lower than its previous close at 1,335.2.

** The most liquid three-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by 0.9 basis points to 3.405%, while the benchmark 10-year yield rose by 2.6 basis points to 3.490%.

($1 = 1,337.7900 won) (Reporting by Jihoon Lee; Editing by Rashmi Aich)