[SEOUL] Seoul shares held steady early on Tuesday amid caution about the near-term direction, while market heavyweight Samsung Electronics fell ore than 2 percent on concern about its earnings.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) stood at 2,066.65 points as of 0237 GMT, little changed from the previous close at 2,065.19.
Technology giant Samsung fell 2.4 per cent to 1,282,000 won. Automaker Hyundai Motor Co rose 0.4 per cent to 135,000 won but hovered around near 5-year lows.
"There are a few events due to take place soon and that makes id difficult for investors to bet on any direction for now," Lee Jae-hoon, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities, referring to events including global index compiler MSCI's decision on China shares.
MSCI is due to decide later on Tuesday whether to include China 'A' shares in its Emerging Markets Index. The decision could influence fund flows on the Seoul stock markets.
South Korea's central bank is also due to review policy at a meeting on Thursday. The outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) in the country was widely seen as bumping up pressure on it to cut interest rates.
Foreign investors were net sellers of shares worth 46.9 billion won on Seoul's main board by late morning.
The South Korean won joined most regional peers in edging up against the dollar after the dollar fell overnight.
The won was up 0.3 per cent at 1,120.0 per dollar from the previous close at 1,123.3, although its gains were limited by dollar demand from local importers.
The dollar broadly weakened as the euro jumped on strong German data and higher Bund yields.
June futures on three-year treasury bonds were up 0.02 points at 109.36 as of 0237 GMT.