Seoul shares flat as market awaits BOJ policy decision

Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:39pm EST

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* Blue chips mixed; Samsung Electronics up 1.2 pct

* KOGAS down nearly 9 pct on scrapped ABS issuance

SEOUL Jan 22 (Reuters) - Seoul shares were flat on Tuesday morning as investors avoided large bets ahead of the Bank of Japan's policy meeting where it is expected to adopt aggressive monetary easing.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ticked 0.06 percent higher at 1,988.12 points as of 0226 GMT.

"There is a distinct lack of an overall direction in bets on the main board since U.S. markets closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and eyes are on what comments might arise from the Bank of Japan's policy meeting," said Kim Chul-joong, an analyst at Korea Investment & Securities.

The Bank of Japan is expected to issue a joint statement with the Japanese government around 0300-0530 GMT on Tuesday, pledging to pursue aggressive monetary easing to achieve a target for inflation of 2 percent.

Blue chips were mixed, with tech heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co Ltd paring the previous session's 1.8 percent loss by rising 1.2 percent near mid-session.

Local sectors such as autos and shipbuilding gained after dropping at least 3.2 percent, respectively, since Jan. 2 on concern over the weakening yen.

The sectors are in direct competition with Japanese rivals seen getting a price advantage in export markets on the yen's move.

Among daily movers, Korea Gas Corp (KOGAS) dropped 8.8 percent after it scrapped the possibility of issuing some 5.4 trillion won ($5.08 billion) in asset backed securities (ABS) against outstanding utility fees, according to local media reports.

S&T Corp rose 3.4 percent after the air cooler and steam generator maker said in a regulatory filing it won a $38.7 million order to provide heat recovery steam generators to General Electric Co in Australia by July 2014.

Declining shares outnumbered winners 447 to 325.

The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was up 0.2 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.1 percent lower. (Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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