Seoul shares dip on worries over Spain, Q3 earnings

Sun Oct 7, 2012 11:24pm EDT

* Trading choppy ahead of Q3 results, euro zone meeting

* Shipbuilders fall on weak global outlook

* KOGAS shares edge up on Iraq pipeline contract

SEOUL, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Seoul shares fell slightly on Monday morning as investors braced for a slowing world economy and kept a wary eye on the upcoming earnings season.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ticked 0.69 percent lower at 1,981.40 points by 0252 GMT, in line with other Asian markets. The MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares excluding Japan was down 0.73 percent.

"The downward revision of Q3 results for several companies and the ongoing question of a Spanish bailout continues to weigh on the KOSPI, despite encouraging U.S. job figures," said Eom Tae-woong, an analyst at Bookook Securities.

Despite a better-than-expected U.S. jobs report, Wall Street stocks closed lower on concerns about the earnings season, which kicks off on Tuesday. S&P 500 futures traded in Asia were down a touch on Monday.

Euro zone finance ministers will be formerly launching the region's 500-billion-euro bailout fund on Monday to bolster defences against the sovereign debt crisis now threatening Spain.

Meanwhile, the World Bank cut its economic forecast for East Asia, in part due to the slowdown in China.

Shipbuilders were down across the board, with Hyundai Heavy Industries trading 3.2 percent lower, and Samsung Heavy Industries down 2.5 percent.

"Shipbuilding is an industry that is particularly sensitive to bad macroeconomic news, and what you see in their stock price is a reflection of the bad economic data," said Lee Jae-won, an analyst at Tongyang Securities.

Shares in the state-run utility Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS) were up 3.3 percent following its winning bid to construct a $127 million pipeline in Iraq.

Retail investors purchased a net 150 billion Korean won ($134.97 million) worth of KOSPI shares near the mid-session, offsetting selling by local institutions and foreigners.

Declining shares outnumbered winners 512 to 287.

The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was down 0.8 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.4 percent higher. ($1 = 1111.3500 Korean won) (Reporting By Somang Yang and Seongwon Chang; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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