SEOUL, April 19 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks opened nearly flat Monday as investors took to the sidelines amid increased valuation pressure.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 0.16 points, or 0.01 percent, to 3,198.78 points.

Stocks got off to a muted start after the KOSPI gained in the past five sessions, closing Friday just shy of the 3,200-point mark on expectations of a global economic rebound and better earnings reports in the January-March season.

In Seoul, market kingpin Samsung Electronics shed 0.48 percent. No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix and internet portal giant Naver traded flat.

Mobile messenger operator Kakao advanced 1.68 percent, and leading carmaker Hyundai Motor edged up 0.22 percent.

Leading chemical maker LG Chem slipped 0.22 percent, and top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics climbed 2.65 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,118.45 won to the U.S. dollar as of 9:15 a.m., down 2.15 won from the previous session’s close.