Seoul shares ease as large caps slip on weak yen worries

Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:57pm EDT

* Samsung Elec near flat, still cheap after recent losses

* SK Innovation down 2.2 pct on March revenue concerns

* Hyundai E&C up on Uzbekistan plant order

By Somang Yang

SEOUL, March 20 (Reuters) - Seoul shares were softer on Wednesday morning as investors cooled on big exporters, reflecting worries about further weakening in the yen.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ticked 0.3 percent lower at 1,972.44 points as of 0241 GMT.

"Large caps are under pressure as many expect the yen to weaken further under a new BOJ chief," said Lim Soo-gyun, an analyst at Samsung Securities.

Japanese lawmakers on Friday endorsed a new central bank governor who backs aggressive monetary easing, which has the side-effect of weakening the yen and making Japanese exports more competitively priced than their South Korean counterparts.

"The KOSPI will rebound when it hits the 1,950-mark, so this is a good opportunity to snap up tech stocks on the cheap," added Lim.

Tech giant Samsung Electronics is trading near flat, but each share is about 52,000 won cheaper than last Wednesday's closing price, having lost 5 percent of its value in the two sessions following the launch of its new smartphone on Thursday.

Refiner SK Innovation fell 2.2 percent, extending the month's loss to over 10 percent on concerns over the month's revenues.

Shares in Hyundai Engineering & Construction rose 2 percent. The builder said on Tuesday that it had won a $ 820 million order to build a power station in Talimarjan, Uzbekistan, along with Daewoo International. Daewoo's shares were up a modest 0.6 percent.

510 shares declined while 287 advanced in a thin session.

The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was down 0.3 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.2 percent lower. (Editing by Eric Meijer)

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