After moving in a tight range, South Korean stocks finished slightly lower on Thursday as investors took to the sidelines on a lack of leads prodding them to buy, analysts said. The South Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index fell 0.16 points, or 0.01 percent, to 1,992.05. Trading volume was light at 195.69 million shares worth 2.86 trillion won ($2.8 billion), with gainers leading losers 400 to 377.
The market started higher on the back of strong buying by foreign investors, but it reversed its earlier gains in late morning trading due to institutional selling of auto and tech shares. The market remained bearish and failed to rebound to the black.
“The local market has been in the doldrums, moving sideways in recent trading sessions due to a lack of upward momentum,” said Kang Hyun-gie, an analyst at I‘M Investment & Securities Co. “With the KOSPI nearing the 2,000 level, institutional investors sold their shares as retail investors sought to unload their fund holdings.”
Large-cap tech shares were losers on news of poor earnings of Google and IBM. Market leader Samsung Electronics fell 0.72 percent, and Naver, the country’s biggest portal operator, extended its earlier losses, losing 1.73 percent to 737,000 won.
Top automaker Hyundai Motor increased its morning losses, falling 0.83 percent to 240,000 won, but its sister company Kia Motors trimmed its losses to rise 0.17 percent to 59,100 won. Nonlife insurers ended on a bearish note from the tragic sinking of a passenger ship in waters off the southwestern island of Jindo. Korean Reinsurance Company lost 1.46 percent to 10,150 won.
KT&G, the country‘s tobacco company, fell 2.29 percent to 81,100 won after it released its first-quarter earnings. Its net profit dropped 5.1 percent from a year ago because of increased cost and stronger won.
Hanssem, a kitchen furniture maker, staged a strong rally, rising 10 percent to 86,900 won, on the strength of analysts’ optimistic outlook of its earnings.
The local currency finished at 1,038.75 won per the greenback, down 1.05 won from Wednesday‘s close as importers bought the dollar to settle their import bills, dealers said. (Yonhap)