* Auto sector index up 1.4 pct on weaker won
* Hyundai, Kia rise more than 3 pct
* Kumho Tire buoyed by better profits
* Builders underperform; GS E&C falls 8 pct
By Somang Yang
SEOUL, Feb 8 Seoul shares climbed on Friday
morning, on track to snap six losing sessions as investors
bought up auto shares after recent declines.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ticked
0.3 percent higher to 1,936.93 points as of 0144 GMT.
Auto shares accounted for 0.2 percent of the index's gains,
with the sector sub-index up 1.6 percent.
Hyundai Motor was up 3.3 percent while sibling
Kia Motor rose 3.6 percent.
"Hyundai and Kia shares have fallen to their book value, so
their cheapness is a good reason to buy," said Chae Hee-geun, an
analyst at Hyundai Securities.
Chae added that the won's climb seems to have halted, so
investors are now thinking that auto shares have fallen
As a stronger won trims their repatriated profits, auto
shares have suffered as the local currency climbed to a 17-month
high against the dollar in mid-Jan. The won has
weakened since then and is now 1,091.1 against the dollar.
Kumho Tire, which is also a component of the
auto sub-index, rose 4.6 percent after it announced increased
profits on Thursday.
However, the construction sector slumped, weighing
on the index. GS Engineering & Construction was one
of the day's worst performers, plunging 8.7 percent after
announcing fourth-quarter earnings that fell far short of
Overall, 376 shares declined while 352 advanced.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was up 0.4
percent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.3 percent
(Reporting by Somang Yang; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)