South Korean stocks closed lower Thursday, surrendering gains made in the last three trading sessions mainly due to manufacturing sector concerns in China, analysts said. The Korean won was down against the greenback.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index dropped 22.83 points, or 1.16 percent, to 1,947.59. Trading volume was low at 221.6 million shares worth 3.40 trillion won ($3.17 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 524 to 281.
Analysts said Seoul shares were rocked by British banking giant HSBC’s preliminary reading of China’s Purchasing Managers’ Index that showed manufacturing sector uncertainties in the world’s second-largest economy.
“The weak PMI reading spread concerns among investors that China’s growth prospects are uncertain,” said Kang Hyun-gie, an analyst at I’M Securities & Investment Co.
He said the latest news coupled with other unfavorable data coming out of China and the United States caused jitters in the local bourse.
Foreigners sold a net 135.9 billion won worth of shares, with institutions also shedding 64.9 billion won worth of stocks. Only individual investors grabbed 204.8 billion won more than they sold.
Market behemoth Samsung Electronics gave up 2.18 percent to 1,299,000 won, with smaller rival LG Electronics remaining flat at 69,600 won. Top chipmaker SK hynix was down 2.48 percent to 35,400 won.
Leading carmaker Hyundai Motor fell 1.90 percent to 232,000 won, although its smaller sister company Kia Motors rose 0.38 percent to 53,300 won. Affiliate Hyundai Mobis, the country’s leading auto parts maker, ended the day unchanged at 292,000 won.
Hyundai Motor’s earnings report earlier in the day showed a drop in net profits for 2013 although its sales rose 7.3 percent. (Yonhap News)