* Market seen steady absent major external cues
* Samsung Elec declines after Obama’s veto of Apple sales ban
* Samsung C&T and Samsung Engineering both fall on merger rumor
SEOUL, Aug 5 (Reuters) - South Korean shares slipped on Monday morning as investors took a breather to assess the global economic outlook following the issue of major U.S. and Chinese economic data late last week.
The South Korean Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was down 0.2 percent at 1919.23 points at 0206 GMT.
Friday night’s U.S. July non-farm payrolls data showed that employers slowed their pace of hiring although the unemployment rate fell further, leaving investors with mixed signals on the strength of the U.S. economy and how the U.S. Federal Reserve may implement its eventual tapering of monetary stimulus.
An official measure of Chinese manufacturing showed large state-owned industries expanding activity while HSBC’s survey of smaller privately-owned factories recorded a contraction.
“After major U.S. and Chinese economic indicators were released last week, the South Korean market should stay steady,” said Juhn Jong-kyu, an analyst at Samsung Securities.
Juhn added that there were not many external factors to affect the market until the next Federal Open Market Committee meeting in September, and the market will likely move within the 1850 to 1970 range this month.
Shares of market heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co Ltd fell 0.6 percent after U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday overturned a U.S. International Trade Commission ban on sales of some Apple Inc products.
The Obama administration has been pressing for most infringements of standard essential patents to be punished by fines instead of sales injunctions.
Samsung C&T Corp fell 4.1 percent and Samsung Engineering Co Ltd dropped 2.4 percent after Samsung C&T announced after market close on Friday that it has acquired 245,481 shares of Samsung Engineering that are worth total of 20.7 billion won ($18.42 million) over the past five sessions on late Friday.
Samsung C&T Corp’s purchase of Samsung Engineering shares drew attention from investors, leading to speculation about potential merger between the two companies. Samsung C&T, in its public filing on Friday, did not state the purpose acquiring shares in Samsung Engineering.
Auto maker Hyundai Motor Co gained 0.4 percent and shares in Hyundai Mobis Co Ltd advanced 0.8 percent.
Gainers outnumbered decliners 383 to 374.
The KOSPI benchmark of core stocks slid 0.2 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ gained 0.5 percent. (Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Eric Meijer)