South Korean shares retreated on Monday as investors took to the sidelines ahead of the third- quarter earnings season despite better-than-expected jobs report in the United States. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) retreated 13.28 points, or 0.67 percent, to close at 1,981.89. Trading volume stood at 497.67 million shares worth 4.02 trillion won (3.62 billion U.S. dollars). The KOSPI started lower and stayed in negative terrain throughout the session as foreign and institutional investors positioned themselves for the earnings season, which was expected to reaffirm the lingering European fiscal crisis and its subsequent global economic slowdown. Employment data in the U.S. was better than market anticipated. The jobless rate unexpectedly fell to 7.8 percent in September, the lowest level since 2009. Non-farm payrolls grew by 114,000 last month as more Americans took part-time jobs. Despite the positive employment data, investors may seek to take wait-and-see stance for the time being in a bid to guarantee the economic recovery with additional economic data announcement, market watchers said, adding that market attention will be paid to this week's events such as the option expiry and the monetary policy meeting where Bank of Korea (BOK) policymakers were widely expected to cut its policy rate further. Foreign investors sold a net 58 billion won worth of shares, with local institutions offloading a net 122.9 billion won worth of stocks. Retail investors bought a net 175.4 billion won worth of shares, but it failed to drive up the stock market into positive territory. Among large-cap shares, Samsung Electronics gained ground after announcing last Friday the preliminary estimate for the third- quarter operating profit that reached a fresh record quarterly high of 8.1 trillion won. Samsung shares rose 0.2 percent to 1,373, 000 won. Memory chip giant SK HYnix advanced 1.9 percent to 23,700 won, but top automaker Hyundai Motor declined 2.1 percent t 237,500 won. The world's largest shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries slid 2.8 percent to 245,500 won. Defense shares rose sharply following the news that South Korea plans to deploy new ballistic missiles with longer range of 550 kilometers and 800 kilometers in five years, but the shares pared their initial gains later in the trading. The local currency finished at 1,112.0 won against the greenback, down 0.7 won from Friday's close. Bond prices ended lower. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes added 0.01 percentage point to 2.76 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds rose 0.01 percentage point to 2.83 percent.