South Korean stocks ended lower Tuesday as investors sat on their hands ahead of an announcement of China’s gross domestic product and earnings of U.S. big tech caps while institutional investors dumped their shares, analysts said. The South Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index fell 4.75 points, or 0.24 percent, to 1,992.27. Trading volume totaled 191,446 million shares worth 3.49 trillion won ($3.4 billion), with gainers leading losers 406 to 388.
The market started higher on gains in blue chips, but it slipped into negative territory in afternoon trading as institutional investors dumped their shares on demand by retail investors to sell equity funds.
“Foreign investors seem to have taken to the sidelines ahead of the release of China’s GDP and an announcement of earnings of U.S. tech companies such as Intel and Yahoo, which are slated for April 16,” said Kim Ji-hyung, an analyst at Hanyang Securities Co.
“Institutional investors went on a selling spree as retail investors unloaded their fund holdings after the KOSPI fell below the 2,000 level.”
Heavy industries took a beating from institutional sell-offs. Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world’s top shipbuilder, fell 2.34 percent to 208,500 won, and Samsung Heavy Industries dropped 3.26 percent to 31,150 won.
Car markers also were battered by institutional selling. Top automaker Hyundai Motor fell 1.45 percent to 238,000 won, and its sister company lost 0.83 percent to 59,500 won.
Tech companies finished in negative terrain. Tech giant Samsung Electronics ended flat at 1,370,000 won, and its smaller rival LG Electronics shed 0.29 percent to 69,300 won.
LG Household & Health Care, a South Korean maker of household goods, rose 5.19 percent to 476,000 won on a bright forecast for its first quarter results.
NH Investment & Securities rose to the daily limit of 15 percent to 7,540 won on hopes that it will become the country’s largest brokerage house after sealing a deal to acquire Woori Investment & Securities Co.
GS Engineering & Construction fell 1.97 percent to 37,250 won despite news that it has won a $5.35 million contract to supervise the expansion of an oil refinery plant in Venezuela.
The South Korean won ended at 1,040.90 won, down 2 won from Monday’s close as offshore investors bought the greenback on bullish U.S. retail sales and worries over riots in Ukraine.
The U.S. Commerce Department said U.S. retail sales increased 1.1 percent in March, the biggest gain since September 2012. (Yonhap)