Korean stocks closed nearly flat on Friday as concerns over weak U.S. data slightly outweighed firm gains in technology shares, analysts said. The local currency fell against the U.S. dollar.
After a rangebound trading session, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index slipped 0.03 points to 1,822.93. Trading volume was moderate at 405.6 million shares worth 3.6 trillion won ($3.2 billion), with decliners outnumbering gainers 404 to 381.
“Basically, there was no strong market-driving factor,” said Park Sung-hoon, an analyst at Woori Investment & Securities Co.
“While rosy earnings from U.S. tech firms buoyed tech shares here, concerns over a recovery in the U.S. economy kept investors jittery,” Park said.
U.S. data showed that weekly jobless claims rose to a three-week high, while an index measuring regional manufacturing came in lower than expected.
Tech shares largely gathered ground on the back of upbeat earnings by U.S. tech bellwethers such as International Business Machines and eBay. SK Hynix, the world’s No. 2 memory chip maker, jumped 4.17 percent to 21,250 won. Panel giant LG Display gained 2.57 percent to 21,950 won.
Automakers closed mixed. Kia Motors, the country’s No. 2 automaker, closed up 1.06 percent at 76,000 won, but its bigger affiliate Hyundai Motor slipped 0.45 percent to 223,000 won.
In contrast, financial shares closed bearish amid the anti-trade watchdog’s ongoing probe of financial firms’ alleged rigging of rates on certificates of deposit.
Major banks and brokerages ended on negative territory. Shinhan Financial Group lost 1.39 percent to 35,550 won and Samsung Securities fell 0.83 percent to 48,000 won.
Korean Air slumped 2.32 percent to 50,600 won. The top flag carrier said Thursday it posted a net loss in the second quarter mainly due to foreign exchange losses.
The local currency closed at 1,141.2 won against the greenback, down 2.1 won from Thursday’s close, due to a weakening euro and the KOSPI’s decline, dealers said. (Yonhap News)