* Benchmark index trading in narrow band in absence of firm cues
* Foreigners remain net buyers, but inflows modest
By Se Young Lee
SEOUL, March 6 (Reuters) - Seoul shares were little changed on Thursday morning, as investors opted to tread cautiously amid the fluid situation in Ukraine and ahead of the European Central Bank’s policy decision later in the global day.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was down 0.02 percent at 1,970.86 points as of 0213 GMT.
While the threat of war appears to have subsided, high-level talks to resolve the Ukraine crisis has made little apparent headway, keeping markets on the edge.
Investors were also looking ahead to the ECB’s policy review later in the day, with expectations growing for additional easing measures to support the still-fragile euro zone economy.
“The local market’s slowing down a bit as the focus shifts back to leads from the U.S. and China markets with the Ukraine worries easing,” said IM Investment analyst Kang Hyun-gee.
“The U.S. market has hit a peak and will need stronger fundamentals to rise further, but the ISM survey readings and the ADP private employment data overnight were soft and can’t provide that additional upwards momentum,” Kang added.
Foreigners were net buyers of local stocks in early trade, though inflows were modest.
Shares of steelmakers Dongbu Steel Co. and Posco were up 2.8 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively, as comments from China’s leaders at this week’s annual parliament meeting suggested Beijing’s reform agenda will help keep the world’s second-largest economy on an even keel.
On the losing ledger, shares of blue chips SK Hynix Inc. fell 1.1 percent and Samsung Electronics Co. declined 0.8 percent on profit-taking pressure after Wednesday’s gains.
Advancers outnumbered gainers 440 to 339.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was down 0.1 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.3 percent higher. (Reporting by Se Young Lee; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)