* Foreign buying offsets institutional sell-off
* Samsung Elec falls for 2nd day after earnings estimates
SEOUL Jan 8 Seoul shares were flat early on
Wednesday, with foreign demand supporting the main bourse while
institutions were largely sellers, tightly capping the stock
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was
flat at 1,959.73 points as of 0231 GMT.
Foreigners warmed to risky assets on Wednesday after data
showed that the U.S. trade deficit shrank to its lowest in four
years, boosting expectations for global economic growth.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, which accounts for
around a fifth of South Korea's stock market value, fell half a
percent a day after the market heavyweight said it expects its
fourth-quarter operating profit to fall 18 percent from the
"Downward corrections of South Korean company earnings due
to a stronger won are expected to have a limited impact on the
market because it's been happening for a while and traders have
already factored that in," said Seo Myung-jin, a market analyst
at Kiwoom Securities in a note to clients.
Other stocks had mixed performances, with winners slightly
outnumbering losers 388 to 371.
Meanwhile, SK Hynix was up more than 3 percent
in early trade as foreigners snapped up shares after U.S. memory
chip maker Micron Technology reported a much
higher-than-expected profit in the first quarter.
Stocks for Hotel Shilla, an affiliate of Samsung
Group, soared more than 10 percent on Wednesday after
reports that it secured rights to operate perfume and cosmetics
stores at Singapore's Changi Airport.
Foreign investors net purchased 66.8 billion won ($62.53
million) worth of KOSPI shares near the mid-session, buttressing
the index. Institutions were net sellers of 79.5 billion won
worth of South Korean stocks.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was flat,
while the junior KOSDAQ was up 0.9 percent.