February 10, 2014 / 3:35 AM / 4 years ago

Seoul shares nearly flat after U.S. data; foreign selling weighs

* Shipbuilders, automakers gain on bargain hunting

* Banks struggle after disappointing Q4 earnings

SEOUL, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Seoul shares were little changed on Monday morning as investors digested a mixed U.S. jobs report and cautiously awaited key events this week, with offshore investors turning net sellers again after a pause late last week.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.1 percent at 1,923.91 points as of 0251 GMT after touching a one-week intraday high of 1,928.39.

U.S. payrolls data on Friday showed that 113,000 jobs were added in January, well below economists’ forecasts, but the unemployment rate in January hit a five-year low of 6.6 percent.

“The market’s upward momentum is limited as the U.S. jobs data failed to fully overshadow the concerns about emerging markets and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s tapering,” said Chang Hee-jong, an analyst at Hana Daetoo Securities.

Chang added that new Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen’s testimony in Congress this week will be in the spotlight, with investors closely monitoring her comments on the Fed’s tapering plan and any impact they have on emerging markets.

Also on traders’ radar screens this week will be Chinese trade and consumer price data.

Foreign investors sold a net 61.1 billion won ($57 million) worth of KOSPI shares near midsession after snapping a four-day selling streak on Friday.

Advancing shares outnumbered decliners 430 to 343.

Shipbuilders underpinned the main index on bargain hunting, with Samsung Heavy Industries Co Ltd and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd rising 3.4 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively.

Hyundai Motor Co added 1.3 percent, while autoparts maker and affiliate Hyundai Mobis Co Ltd gained 1.1 percent.

But banks were hit by weaker-than-expected earnings for the October-December quarter, weighing on the broader market.

KB Financial Group Inc fell 2.6 percent, Hana Financial Group Inc lost 3 percent and Shinhan Financial Group Co Ltd dropped 3.5 percent.

The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was flat, while the junior KOSDAQ gained 0.7 percent. ($1 = 1074.3000 Korean won) (Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

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