* Choppy session driven by sector-specific bets
* Tech, energy down after recent gains; auto shares up
By Joyce Lee
SEOUL, Jan 7 South Korean shares closed nearly
flat on Monday in a choppy, mixed session as investors took
sector-driven bets before the onset of the fourth-quarter
corporate earnings reports season.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed
down 0.03 percent at 2,011.25 points, losing ground for the
third straight session but still holding on to 9-month highs.
"With external factors such as the U.S. fiscal issue
comparatively stable, investors were betting according to
internal issues in each sector," said Han Beom-ho, an analyst at
Shinhan Investment Corp.
"Investors shed sectors such as industrial materials that
had seen recent gains, while snapping up sectors that had
Tech shares pared earlier losses but still closed down, with
market heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co Ltd
falling 0.3 percent ahead of its fourth earnings estimate to be
announced on early Tuesday.
Energy & chemical shares lost ground, after
increased energy use from unusually cold local weather saw the
sector gaining 13 percent in six weeks as of Friday. South
Korea's largest oil refiner SK Innovation Co Ltd
dipped 1.9 percent.
But auto shares rose after falling 6.5 percent
during the previous week as the weakening yen was expected to
benefit Japanese competitors, with Hyundai Motor Co
climbing 1.2 percent.
Foreign investors sold a net 41.7 billion won ($39 million)
worth of KOSPI shares, weighing on the main board.
Decliners nearly matched gainers 398 to 393.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks closed down
0.1 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ climbed 0.8
Move on day -0.03 percent
12-month high 2,057.28 14 March 2012
12-month low 1,769.31 25 July 2012
Change on yr -1.0 percent
All-time high 2,231.47 27 April 2011
All-time low 93.10 6 January 1981
($1 = 1063.6500 Korean won)
(Reporting by Joyce Lee)