Seoul shares crawl up in thin trade; automakers extend slide

Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:10pm EST

Related Topics

* No clear direction as fiscal deadline looms

* Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors down as yen hits over 2-year-low

* Foreigners continue selling after a 18-session-long buying is over

SEOUL, Dec 28 (Reuters) - Seoul shares rose slightly in a light morning trade on the last session of this year, while automakers extended losses on the weakening Japanese yen.

Investors were sitting on the fence, as U.S. lawmakers planned to meet on Sunday to seek a last-minute deal to avoid deep and automatic spending cuts and tax hikes in the new year.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ticked 0.3 percent higher at 1,993.36 points as of 0153 GMT, paring losses earlier in the day. Foreign investors continued to dump KOSPI shares after turning net sellers on Thursday, ending a 18-session buying spree.

"The KOSPI has not shown clear directions recently, alternating rises and falls every day," said Lee Jae-man, an analyst at Tongyang Securities.

South Korean automakers continued to see losses, after the yen fell further to hit its lowest level in more than two years, which should boost price competitiveness of Japanese rivals in overseas markets.

Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors lost to their lowest levels in more than one month.

Electricity- and gas-related shares outperformed the market, with Korea Electric Power up 2.7 percent leading the gains on expectations of electricity price hikes.

POSCO, South Korea's top steelmaker, gained 1.2 percent, after China steel futures hit a five-month high, buoyed by a series of strong economic data from the top steel consumer.

Samsung Electronics, South Korea's most valuable company which accounts for around a fifth of the KOSPI's market capitalization, extended gains, climbing 0.8 percent. (Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; additional reporting by Chang Seong-won)

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