Death toll in ferry sinking tops 150 as hope dwindles

Seoul shares end tad lower on tapering woes

Seoul shares end tad lower on tapering woes

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Published : 2013-12-16 15:50
Updated : 2013-12-16 15:50

South Korean stocks closed slightly lower Monday as fear of a sudden U.S. stimulus cut weighed down investor sentiment, analysts said. The local currency inched up against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 1.76 points, or 0.09 percent, to finish at 1,961.15. Trading volume was light at 209.9 million shares worth 2.81 trillion won ($2.67 billion) with decliners far outpacing gainers 545 to 263.

"What worries investors the most is that they can't 'picture' the tapering. How much the Fed will cut it, when it will cut it, it's all unclear," said Kim Hyung-ryeol, an analyst at Kyobo Securities Co.

Kim noted that such jitters bind the U.S. Federal Reserve to bring some kind of a buffer against possible repercussions in the event of the stimulus cut, suggesting "a proposal for a joint policy effort by major central banks" at the policy meeting this week or early next year.

The fear of an early tapering cast a shadow on the local bourse since last week, exacerbated by a foreign outflow. Overseas investors unloaded a net 65.7 billion won worth of shares, extending their selling spree for the sixth consecutive session as of Monday.

Retail investors lent hands by dumping a net 26.9 billion won.

But institutions snapped up a net 89 billion won.

Auto blue chips drove down the main index. Hyundai Motor fell 1.51 percent to 228,000 won and its auto parts-making affiliate Hyundai Mobis slid 0.86 percent to 287,500 won.

But large-cap tech firms advanced, with Samsung Electronics moving up 0.72 percent to 1,400,000 won and SK hynix gaining 1.78 percent to 37,150 won.

Shares of cash-strapped STX Group units skyrocketed following media reports that its creditor banks are mulling early liquidity support for the shipbuilding arm STX Offshore & Marine Engineering.

The shipyard surged 8.85 percent to 7,130 won with STX, the holding company, rising to the daily limit of 15 percent to 3,040 won.

The local currency ended at 1,051.50 won against the greenback, up 1.1 won from Friday's close, amid continuing jitters over the uncertain U.S. monetary policy, dealers said. (Yonhap News)

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