(Adds dropped word 'stocks' in headline, fixes typographical
error in 3rd paragraph)
* KOSPI stays above 2,050 point level
* Hyundai Heavy falls following recent gains
* Foreigners on track for 37th day of net buying
SEOUL, Oct 21 Seoul shares touched a high for
2013 early on Monday and then retreated on profit-taking but
stayed above a key level as investors awaited a slew of global
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was
flat at 2,052.12 points by 0200 GMT after hitting 2,060.18.
The KOSPI has struggled to keep above the 2,050 point level,
the upper end of a range it has traded in recently.
"The sentiment is not bad at all, with South Korean data
indicating gradual growth," said Lim Dong-rak, an analyst at
Hanyang Securities, adding that the market is being tested while
absorbing new offerings.
South Korean exports for the first 20 days of October rose
2.9 percent from a year earlier, customs data showed on Monday,
suggesting that Asia's fourth-largest economy is on a recovery
Due this week are a manufacturing survey on China and data
on Europe, as well as a key U.S. jobs report.
The main board was underpinned by offshore buying that stood
at 100 billion won ($94.27 million) in the morning. Foreigners
are on track to extend their record buying streak to a 37th
Brent crude added 0.1 percent to build on Friday's
0.8 percent rise, maintaining offshore interest in refiners. SK
Innovation Co Ltd, South Korea's top crude oil
refiner, gained 3.6 percent and GS Holdings, the
holding company of the country's No.2 refiner, rose 2 percent.
The shipbuilding sector fell 2 percent on profit
taking. Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd, the world's
largest builder, fell 2.1 percent. It had gained 44 percent in
the July-September quarter, compared with the KOSPI's 7.2
LG Chem Ltd fell 2.8 percent after announcing
weaker-than-expected July-September earnings on Friday.
OCI Co Ltd fell 3.4 percent on an uncertain
earnings outlook after announcing it had terminated poly-silicon
supply contracts with Helios Technology SRL and Swiss Wafers AG.
Market heavyweight Hyundai Motor Co, which
dropped 3 percent on Friday, gained 2.3 percent.
Declining shares outnumbered gainers 409 to 361.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks edged up 0.1
percent, while the junior KOSDAQ gained 0.3 percent.
($1 = 1060.8250 Korean won)
(Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Richard Borsuk)