Seoul shares tread water on worries about soft yen, U.S. economy

Sun Dec 23, 2012 9:22pm EST

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* Samsung Elec rebounds from steep loss

* Automakers hurt by weakening Japanese yen

SEOUL Dec 24 (Reuters) - Seoul shares barely moved on Monday in light trading ahead of Christmas, with the weakening Japanese yen and the U.S. fiscal uncertainty keeping investors uneasy.

But Samsung Electronics gained 1.8 percent, rebounding from a 4.1 percent slump on Friday, after a brokerage upgraded its target share price, forecasting strong smartphone sales next year.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ticked up 0.07 percent at 1981.89 points as of 0211 GMT.

"With a dearth of good news, shares will undergo corrections in the final week of this year, albeit within a limited range" said Park Hyeong-joong, an analyst at Meritz Securities.

"A chance is growing that the U.S. fiscal issue will not be resolved by this year-end," Park said.

The Japanese yen resumed falls and neared a 20-month low versus the dollar on Monday after incoming premier Shinzo Abe renewed pressure on the Bank of Japan to adopt a 2 percent inflation target.

A weaker yen lifts price competitiveness soft Japanese companies in overseas markets where they directly vie with Korean exporters in such sectors as automobiles and consumer electronics.

South Korea's top automaker Hyundai Motor fell 0.2 percent.

The healthcare sector gained 1.6 percent, whereas the electric/gas index was among the worst performers, falling 3.3 percent. (Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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