S.Korea stocks flat as markets eye trade talks with US, earnings; won steady

* KOSPI targets going above 2,400 level -analyst
* Auto shares show mixed movements; steel shares mostly firm

SEOUL, July 3 (Reuters) – South Korean shares were little
changed in early on Monday as investors cautiously followed
talks over a bilateral trade pact between Washington and Seoul
and the thorny subject of automobiles and steel.
Markets were also reluctant to make any major investments
ahead of looming second-quarter corporate earnings guidance,
starting with tech giant Samsung Electronics on July
That explains why investors looked past data over the
weekend showing double-digit export growth for June, with the
Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) almost flat at
2,392.39 points as of 0158 GMT.
South Korean auto shares were mixed after falling at the
start of trade. Hyundai Motor was up 0.3 percent and
Kia Motors down 1.3 percent. Steel shares appeared
to shrug off the tricky issue around the metal in U.S.-South
Korea trade talks, with Posco up 1.6 percent.
“Stocks seem to be digesting many events that occurred over
the weekend ahead of attempting to move above the 2,400 level as
corporate earnings guidance releases loom,” said Kim Ye-eun, a
stock analyst at Cape Investment & Securities.
At the start of Friday’s trade talks between Seoul and
Washington, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the largest
component of the deficit was automotive trade and that many
non-tariff barriers to U.S. auto exports to South Korea
Kim said global data and Samsung Electronics’ guidance will
likely be major catalysts for the KOSPI this week.
Offshore investors were set to be small net buyers of KOSPI
shares near mid-session.
Decliners outnumbered advancers 419 to 363.
The South Korean won also held steady at 1,144.5
against the dollar, little changed from Friday’s close of
September futures on three-year treasury bonds shed
0.02 point to 109.28.

0158 GMT Prev close
Dollar/won 1,144.5 1,144.1
Yen/won 10.1752/58 10.2034
*KTB futures 109.28 109.30
KOSPI 2,392.39 2,391.79
* Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds

(Reporting by Dahee Kim; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)