The Korea Herald

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Seoul shares slip 0.23 pct on currency woes

By KH디지털뉴스부공용

Published : Feb. 7, 2013 - 15:38

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South Korean stocks closed 0.23 percent lower on Thursday as the prolonged currency volatility continued to weigh down the market, analysts said. The local currency fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) edged down 4.42 points to 1,931.77. Trading volume was moderate at 407.2 million shares worth 3.5 trillion won (US$3.22 billion) with losers outpacing gainers 410 to 383.

"Due to the prolonged appreciation of the local currency against the Japanese yen, earnings outlook for South Korean firms remain cloudy," said Lim Dong-lak, an analyst at Hanyang Securities Co.

"The strong won is attributable to stimulus measures taken by advanced countries," Lim added. "It is not because South Korea boasts sound economic conditions."

Lim also said the European Central Bank meeting scheduled Thursday may also have an adverse impact on South Korea's currency if the bank comes up with stimulus plans.

Foreigners scooped up a net 79.6 billion won worth of local shares, and retail investors purchased a net 13.5 billion won. On the other hand, institutional investors offloaded a net 83.3 billion won.

Tech blue chips fell, with market behemoth Samsung Electronics losing 0.49 percent to 1,420,000 won, and Samsung SDI, the world's top maker of plasma display panels, moving down 1.08 percent to 137,500 won.

The polysilicon maker OCI fell 0.62 percent to 161,000 won due to the lower-than-expected earnings for the fourth quarter of 2012.

CJ CGV, the operator of South Korea's largest multiplex cinema chain, lost 1.8 percent to 38,250 won, after increasing for six straight sessions.

Defense shares such as Huneed Technologies, on the other hand, increased 0.24 percent to reach 4,150 won, due to the heightened tension with North Korea.

Dohwa Engineering, a local builder, advanced by its daily permissible limit of 14.92 percent to 6,700 won after a South Korean consortium, led by the state-run Korea Water Resources Corp., has been tapped as the priority negotiation partner for water management projects being pushed in Thailand.

Hyundai Glovis, a local logistics service provider, added 0.5 percent to 200,500 won as foreign investors scooped up its shares.

NHN, South Korea's top Internet portal operator, advanced 3.09 percent to 233,500 won after the firm announced that its fourth-quarter earnings jumped 49.1 percent from a year earlier, buoyed by increased revenue from ad and messenger services as well as currency gains from a weakening Japanese yen.

The local currency closed at 1,088.30 won against the greenback, down 0.20 won from Wednesday's close, following the rising uncertainties over the eurozone, dealers said. (Yonhap News)