Published : 2013-12-13 15:50
Updated : 2013-12-13 15:50
South Korean stocks closed 0.26 percent lower Friday due mainly to financial uncertainties from the United States, analysts said. The local currency traded lower against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 5.02 points to 1,962.91. Trading volume was low at 221.4 million shares worth 3.33 trillion won (US$3.16 billion) with losers outpacing gainers 424 to 362.
Analysts said Seoul shares lost ground due to better-than-expected economic indicators from the U.S., which are feared to induce an early stimulus cut at the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting slated for next week.
"Due to improved data from the U.S. signaling an economic recovery, investors are concerned that its central bank may commence a tapering of economic stimulus in the meeting slated for Dec. 17-18," said Lee Sang-jae, a researcher at Hyundai Securities Co.
Analysts added the surprise execution of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's once-powerful uncle did not lead to market volatility, as Seoul shares became indifferent to prolonged issues related to the communist neighbor.
"As there is little information concerning the death of Jang Song-thaek, the news had only a limited impact on the local stock market," said Lim Soo-kyun, a researcher at Samsung Securities Co.
Jang, who served as a vice chairman of the powerful National Defense Commission, was executed Thursday shortly after a military trial found him guilty of "anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional" charges, according to the North's state media. The two Koreas remain in a state of war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty.
Foreigners offloaded 274.1 billion won worth of Seoul shares on the main bourse. In contrast, individual investors and institutions scooped up a net 97.9 billion won and 186.8 billion won, respectively.
Carmakers traded mixed, with No. 1 Hyundai Motor advancing 0.65 percent to 231,500 won and its auto parts affiliate Hyundai Mobis losing 0.51 percent to 290,000 won. Kia Motors moved down 1.25 percent to 55,500 won.
Mobile carriers also closed mixed, with leading SK Telecom falling 1.32 percent to 223,500 won and its smaller rival KT moving down 0.16 percent to 30,650 won. LG Uplus, the smallest player, climbed 1.48 percent to 10,300 won.
Tech shares lost ground, with Samsung Electronics slipping 1.42 percent to 1,390,000 won and its smaller rival LG Electronics losing 0.29 percent to 68,300 won. Samsung Techwin, a defense and precision machinery firm, shed 0.55 percent to 54,300 won.
The local currency ended at 1,052.60 won to the U.S. dollar, down 1.60 won from Thursday's close. (Yonhap News)