February 25, 2013 / 2:51 AM / 5 years ago

Seoul shares flat, auto shares under pressure

* Auto sub-index falls 1.4 pct; Hyundai down 1.6 pct

* Samsung Elec up 0.9 pct after unveiling new tablet

By Somang Yang

SEOUL, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Seoul shares were flat on Monday morning as auto shares came under pressure on news that an advocate of aggressive monetary easing was poised to head the Bank of Japan.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ticked 0.04 percent lower to 2,018.26 points as of 0227 GMT, after a 2.6 percent gain the previous week.

“The index is taking a breather following last week’s rally,” said Bae Sung-young, an analyst at Hyundai Securities.

“However, auto-related shares are in correction after Kuroda became a frontrunner for the head of the Bank of Japan.”

Japan’s government is likely to nominate Asian Development Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda, an advocate of aggressive monetary easing, as its next central bank governor, sources told Reuters on Monday.

Quantitative easing has driven down the value of the yen, making Japanese car exports more competitive abroad vis-a-vis South Korean rivals.

The auto sub-sector index fell 1.4 percent, accounting for 0.2 percent of the index’s move, with carmarker Hyundai Motor down 1.6 percent.

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics bucked the trend, rising 0.9 percent after unveiling its Galaxy Note 8 phablet at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

J.K. Shin, the head of Samsung’s mobile division, told reporters on Sunday that the electronics giant plans on doubling its share of the tablet PC market this year. He also confirmed that the Galaxy S4, the successor to the blockbuster smartphone Galaxy S3, will be unveiled in New York on March 14th.

“Samsung’s goal of doubling its share of the tablet market is achievable, given that it has just 10 percent currently,” said Lee Sun-tae, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities.

“We don’t yet know how the Galaxy Note 8 will be priced, nor whether it will be sold as a tablet or a phone, so it is too early to tell if it will be a direct competitor to the iPad series.”

Declining and advancing shares were almost even, with 376 losers compared to 367 winners.

The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was flat, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.3 percent higher. (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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