Published : 2013-10-16 15:42
Updated : 2013-10-16 15:42
South Korean stocks closed 0.31 percent lower Wednesday, weighed down by concerns that the U.S.
might see its sovereign rating get downgraded on the partial government shutdown and a possible default, analysts said. The local currency rose slightly against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 6.35 points to finish at 2,034.61. Trading volume was light at 258 million shares worth 4.24 trillion won ($3.97 billion) with decliners outstripping gainers 483 to 316.
Analysts said investors took Fitch Rating's warning seriously, in which it hinted at a possible rating downgrade of the world's No. 1 economy should it fail to resolve the impasse over the fiscal budget and debt limit.
"With the debt ceiling deadline around the corner, we're not seeing any progress in the Congress, denting investor sentiment," said Kim Soon-young, an analyst at IBK Securities Co.
The U.S. loses its authority to borrow money if it does not raise its debt ceiling by Oct. 17, U.S. time.
Although the Seoul bourse ended lower for the day, the Wednesday session marked a near-record consecutive net purchase of local stocks by foreigners, propping up the index.
Overseas investors snapped up a net 200.1 billion won, extending its buying spree for 34 straight sessions since Aug. 23. On a cumulative basis, it has bought a net 12 trillion won worth of local equities over the cited period.
IT service companies and builders drove down the KOSPI, with NAVER, the top Internet portal service provider, plummeting 5.85 percent to 595,000 won and major builder Hyundai Engineering & Construction losing 2.06 percent to 61,900 won.
Market behemoth Samsung Electronics fell 0.48 percent to 1,450,000 won.
But financial blue-chips were bullish. No. 2 player KB Financial Group jumped 3.87 percent to 41,650 won and its rival Hana Financial Group shot up 3.24 percent to 41,400 won.
The local currency ended at 1,065.50 won against the greenback, up 1.3 won from Tuesday's close, on the back of the foreign buying, dealers said. (Yonhap News)