Seoul shares traded flat on Monday after two consecutive sessions of gains, with firm gains in steelmakers and technology plays like POSCO and Samsung Electronics helping, but falls in other sectors such as shipyards.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was down 0.08 percent at 2,052.33 points as of 0144 GMT, well above its 60-day moving average of 2,030 points.
The market is expected to trade within a limited range through this week as it lacks compelling positives to lift it further, said Kim Seong-bong, a market analyst at Samsung Securities.
South Korean companies start quarterly earnings reports next month. Foreign investors were buyers of a net 25.2 billion won ($22.69 million) worth of stocks and looked poised to record eight straight sessions of buying, which would be the longest foreign buying streak since last October.
Shares in POSCO jumped nearly 3 percent after a local media reported the world’s No.3 steelmaker plans to raise prices of key products including hot-rolled steel and shipbuilding plates by 15 to 20 percent as early as April.
Memory chip makers also rose firmly as chip prices continued to rise. Contract prices of key DRAM chips rose 3-6 percent range, the latest data from DRAMeXchange, an industry tracker, showed. Shares in Samsung Electronics, the world’s No.1 memory chip maker, rose 0.8 percent and Hynix Semiconductor advanced 2.3 percent.