SEOUL Jan 20 Seoul shares inched higher on Monday, buoyed by better-than-expected Chinese growth data and bargain hunting, lifting market heavyweights like Samsung Electronics.
Investors were cautious about chasing the market higher, however, ahead of key economic data and corporate earnings reports due this week.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed up 0.5 percent at 1,953.78 points.
Institutional investors bought a net 58.3 billion won ($55 million) worth of KOSPI shares, buttressing the main board.
The two largest components in the KOSPI, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Hyundai Motor Co, gained 1.9 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.
Both companies are due to announce their October-December quarter earnings later in the week. ($1 = 1059.7500 Korean won) (Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Chris Gallagher)