South Korean stocks dropped 1.03 percent on Monday on concerns over weaker-than-expected data from China and continued instability in Ukraine, analysts said. The local currency fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index fell 20.26 points to 1,954.42. Trading volume was moderate at 207 million shares worth 3.35 trillion won ($3.14 billion), and losers outnumbered gainers 494 to 311.
China, South Korea’s largest trading partner, said over the weekend that its exports unexpectedly fell last month, stoking worries over a slowdown in Asia’s largest economy. Investors also remained concerned over the Ukraine crisis as well.
“Investor sentiment was dampened by weak Chinese data,” said Bae Sung-young, market analyst at Hyundai Securities Co. “The KOSPI may be tug in a tight range for the time being.”
Tech, auto and shipbuilding shares led the overall market decline.
Top market cap Samsung Electronics fell 1.42 percent to 1,320,000 won, and SK Hynix lost 2.2 percent to end at 37,700 won.
Industry leader Hyundai Motor declined 0.63 percent to finish at 237,000 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors slipped 1.44 percent to end at 54,800 won.
Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world’s top shipbuilder, lost 1.84 percent to finish at 213,500 won, and its smaller local rival Samsung Heavy Industries declined 2.26 percent to end at 32,400 won.
But some defensive shares rose higher. Naver, the operator of the country’s top Internet portal, climbed 3.27 percent to end at 853,000 won on growing optimism that its free chat service would find a strategic partner.
Shares of mobile carriers closed mixed amid the telecom regulator’s decision to slap the country’s three players with 45-day business suspensions for paying illegal subsidies.
Top mobile carrier SK Telecom remained flat to 210,000 won, while No. 3 player LG Uplus rose 2.66 percent to 10,050 won.
Wall Street stocks finished mixed Friday on the back of better-than-expected U.S. jobs data. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.19 percent, but the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.37 percent.
The local currency ended at 1,066.50 won to the greenback, down 5.90 won from Friday’s close. (Yonhap)