* Positive surprise seen from KEPCO earnings
* KAI surges on 1.2 trl Boeing orders
* Apple supplier LG Display up ahead of earnings
* STX Offshore, STX Corp down on local media report
By Somang Yang
SEOUL, April 22 (Reuters) - Seoul shares were firmer on Monday morning as investors bought stocks likely to post improved earnings in the coming weeks as the index hovered near five-month lows.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ticked 0.2 percent higher at 1,909.56 points as of 0211 GMT, but was still down 4.7 percent for the month.
“The index will hold above the 1,900-mark but there’s no serious upward momentum, considering earnings prospects are muted for most companies,” said Park Heon-seok, an analyst at Dongbu Securities.
“Telecoms and utilities are doing well as they are seen as more stable (compared to exporters).”
The electricity and gas sub-index led the gains, with Korea Electric Power Corp up 2 percent after local brokerage Daishin Securities said the utility’s earnings are likely to overshoot estimates as a stronger won reduced the costs of imported inputs.
The won rose almost 8 percent against the dollar last year although it has lost some 4 1/2 percent against the U.S. currency this year.
Plane maker Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) surged 4.4 percent after it said on Monday it had won orders totalling 1.2 trillion won ($1.08 billion) from Boeing for parts that go into the Dreamliner (787), B737 jets and for AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters.
Panel maker LG Display was up 1 percent ahead of releasing its results for the January-March period due out after the closing bell on Monday. The Apple Inc supplier will kick off the tech sector’s earnings week.
On the losing ledger, STX Offshore & Shipbuilding sank 4.6 percent following a report by local media News Tomato that the cash-strapped firm is looking to sell foreign assets and layoff up to half of its workforce.
Shares in STX Corp, STX Offshore’s largest shareholder, also fell 5.5 percent.
Overall, advancing shares outnumbered losers 451 to 311.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was up 0.1 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.7 percent higher. ($1 = 1116.2500 Korean won) (Additional reporting by Seongwon Chang; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)