South Korean stocks closed lower Tuesday as investors sat on the sidelines amid the weaker-than-expected industry data from the United States and China, analysts said. The South Korean won closed lower against the greenback.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index moved down 4.3 points, or 0.22 percent, to 1,941.25. Trading volume was low at 222 million shares worth 3.72 trillion won ($3.45 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 425 to 376.
Analysts said Seoul shares closed lower due to weak Purchasing Managers Index estimates for March from the United States and China, although some investors expected that the advanced countries accordingly will roll out stimulus moves to push up their economy.
British bank HSBC said the PMI for China is expected to reach 48.1 this month, hovering below the earlier estimate of 48.7.
Separate data also showed PMI for the U.S. came to 55.1, falling behind the earlier estimate of 56.5.
The PMI is an index that measures the health of a country‘s manufacturing sector. A reading of 50 or above represents an expansion of the sector from the previous month, while a reading below the figure represents a contraction.
Analysts added, however, the Chinese economy itself will only give a limited impact on the stock market.
“China is only one of players of the global economy,” said Lim Noh-joong, an analyst at I’M Investment & Securities Co. “Now is time to also focus on the U.S. and the euro zone economy, and not just on that of China.”
Foreigners sold a net 87.8 billion won, and individual investors offloaded a net 11.3 billion won. Institutions bought more shares than they sold at 81.7 billion won.
Tech shares closed mixed, with Samsung Electronics falling 2.04 percent to 1,247,000 won and chipmaker SK hynix losing 1.44 percent to 37,600 won. LG Electronics, Samsung‘s smaller rival, edged up 0.47 percent to 63,800 won. (Yonhap)