Seoul shares lose ground on weak U.S., Chinese data

By 김지현
  • Published : Mar 25, 2014 - 16:04
  • Updated : Mar 25, 2014 - 16:04
South Korean stocks closed lower Tuesday as investors took a wait-and-see attitude toward the market on weaker-than-expected industry data from the United States and China. 

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 (PMI) estimates for March from the United States and China, although some investors expected that the advanced countries will issue stimulus measures. 

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.

Carmakers also traded mixed, with Hyundai Motor falling 1.27 percent to 232,500 won and its auto parts affiliate Hyundai Mobis advancing 0.99 percent to 306,000 won. Kia Motors decreased 0.69 percent to 57,900 won.

Builders gathered ground, with Hyundai Engineering & Construction adding 3.35 percent to 55,600 won and Daewoo Engineering & Construction moving up 1.72 percent to 7,670 won. Daelim Industrial climbed 4.01 percent to 85,500 won.

Mobile carriers also closed higher, with No. 1 SK Telecom losing 0.47 percent to 212,000 won and KT increasing 1.03 percent to 29,300 won. LG Uplus, the smallest player, gained 3.48 percent to 10,400 won.

The local currency ended at 1,079.40 won to the U.S. dollar, down 1.6 won from Monday’s close.