Seoul shares end lower on weak economic indicators

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Feb 19, 2014 - 20:04
  • Updated : Feb 19, 2014 - 20:04
South Korea’s main stock market ended its lukewarm three-day winning streak Wednesday as disappointing economic indicators from the U.S. sapped investor sentiment. The South Korean won gained marginally against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index, which started the day in negative territory, failed to gain any buoyancy and ended at 1,942.93, a 0.20 percent, or 3.98 points, loss from Tuesday’s close.

Trading volume on the main bourse was light at 205.87 million shares, with 2.94 trillion won ($2.76 billion) worth of stocks changing hands. Prices for 398 listed companies rose, while 395 fell and 79 remained flat.

Foreign investors and institutions all offloaded more shares than they bought, with only private investors being net buyers.

“There was just not enough momentum in the market to push up the market, with uncertain fundamentals hurting investor sentiment,” Lim Dong-rak, a researcher at Hanyang Securities Co., said.

He said that while the KOSPI can still be seen as undergoing a rebound phase, it may require a more solid push, particularly from abroad, to get the market moving. He claimed local economic conditions could not generate the kind of impetus needed to entice investors.

Others said the KOSPI was hurt by mixed results in the U.S. stock market after Presidents’ Day and manufacturing and housing market figures in the world’s largest economy that failed to meet earlier expectations.

Profit-taking by investors to cash in modest gains may have further depressed the bourse.

Market leader Samsung Electronics edged down 0.39 percent to 1,290,000 won, with Naver, the country’s top Internet portal, giving up 0.27 percent to 750,000 won.

Autos ended the day mixed with Hyundai Motor, South Korea’s No. 1 carmaker, standing at 225,500 won, a 1.74 percent drop from the day before. Its smaller affiliate Kia Motors moved up 0.76 percent to 53,200 won.

Steelmaker POSCO was down 0.51 percent to 293,000 won, with Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world’s largest shipbuilder, losing ground by 0.45 percent to 219,500 won.

Telecommunications and construction, on the other hand, did relatively well, with SK Telecom, the country’s largest mobile operator, adding 1.26 percent to 201,500 won. Hyundai E&C was up 0.35 percent to 57,900 won as it reported securing several overseas orders.

The local currency ended at 1,065.55 won to the U.S. dollar, up 0.15 won from the previous session. (Yonhap)