* Automakers lose ground as won resumes rises
* SK Hynix leads tech shares higher after Q4 earnings
* LG Chem slumps on weak earnings; KEPCO down
SEOUL, Jan 30 Seoul shares edged slightly higher
in see-saw trade on Wednesday morning as the firmer South Korean
won hurt automakers, while technology shares rose led by SK
Foreign investors, who snapped up stocks earlier in the day,
turned into net sellers, weighing on the market.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ticked
up 0.25 percent to 1,960.84 points as of 0211 GMT after
oscillating between slight gains and losses.
"The KOSPI has underperformed Asian peers this year because
of the won-yen exchange rate, concerns about technology and
automobile sectors - two big cash cows - and foreign sell-off,"
said Lee Sang-won, an analyst at Hyundai Securities.
"There are expectations the South Korean government would
come up with measures to stem the appreciation of the won," he
The KOSPI has fallen about 2 percent so far this year, where
as Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan went up 3
Auto shares slumped as the South Korean won resumed its
gains on Tuesday and Wednesday, threatening to hurt automakers'
earnings and price competitiveness.
Hyundai Motor, South Korea's top automaker, fell
1.9 percent, while affiliate Kia Motors slumped 1.2
SK Hynix went up 1.5 percent, leading gains in
the technology sector after the chipmaker returned to a
quarterly profit. Bigger rival Samsung
Electronics gained 0.9 percent.
"There are expectations that the worst may be over for SK
Hynix, with DRAM contract prices rebounding in January due to
reduced capacity for computer chips, helping improve its
first-quarter earnings," said Kim Ji-woong, an analyst at
In contrast, LG Chem slumped 2.9 percent after
the chemicals and battery maker reported a 28-percent drop in
fourth-quarter operating profit on Tuesday, as a weak global
economy dented demand.
Korea Electric Power (KEPCO) skidded 4 percent
as its chief executive dashed hopes of a further hike in
electric fees this year, after the power supplier raised prices
by 4 percent from Jan. 14.
(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)