* Hyundai Motor, Kia fall on concerns about weaker yen
* Shipbuilders, telecom firms gain ground
SEOUL Feb 18 South Korean stocks edged down on
Monday morning as the yen declined after Group of 20
policymakers did not single out Japan for policies that have
weakened its currency.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was
down 0.14 percent at 1,978.41 points as of 0210 GMT, having
traded in a narrow range.
Resumed foreign buying was offset by selling by retail
"Investors expected G20 leaders to find common ground in
averting the yen's further falls, but the meeting failed to
produce major achievements," said Kim Sung-soo, a fund manger at
LS Asset Investment.
The yen lost ground on Monday after Japan escaped criticism
from its G20 peers on its loose monetary policy that have
weakened the currency and raised international complaints of
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday pledged to keep
the country's expansive monetary policy until the central bank's
2 percent inflation target is achieved, further weighing down
A weaker yen benefits Japanese exporters, which directly
compete with South Korean companies in automobile and other
sectors in overseas markets.
"The KOSPI, which has been decoupled from its overseas peers
in recent months because of a softer yen and foreign selling,
will see a technical rebound to the 1,920- and 1,930-levels. But
it will be difficult for the KOSPI to rise sharply as long as
the weak yen persists," Kim said.
Automakers lost ground, with Hyundai Motor down
1.9 percent and Kia Motors losing 1.3 percent.
But shipbuilders and telecommunications stocks gained
Hyundai Heavy Industries rose 2.4 percent and
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering gained 1
SK Telecom, South Korea's top mobile carrier,
firmed 2.1 percent, while third-placed LG Uplus
advanced 2.4 percent.
Among heavyweights, Samsung Electronics snapped
a five-day gain, falling 0.5 percent.
(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Chris Gallagher)