South Korean stocks closed lower Friday as Samsung Group affiliates sharply lost ground, analysts said. The South Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index fell 23.96 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,968.07. Trading volume was low at 223 million shares worth 4.49 trillion won ($4.4 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 520 to 283.
“While investors remain concerned over the Iraqi woes, the second-quarter earnings of Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor, and other firms are anticipated to be dented by the strong won,” said Lee A-ram, a researcher at NH Investment & Securities Co.
Shares of Samsung Electronics closed 1.66 percent lower at 1,301,000 won, with analysts here expecting the world’s No. 1 smartphone maker to post an operating profit of less than 8 trillion won for the April-June period, compared to 9.5 trillion won a year earlier.
Samsung Life Insurance, another key affiliate of Samsung Group, also fell 3.35 percent to 101,000 won amid reports that Samsung Foundation will seek to offload shares in the firm.
Samsung shares have been suffering fluctuations after a brief rally last month when Lee Kun-hee, the de facto head of the group, was hospitalized after a heart attack. Investors had bet that the business group, which makes up nearly 30 percent of the market capitalization on the main bourse, would take steps friendly to shareholders ahead of managerial transfer to Lee’s children.
Analysts, however, said market conditions may improve down the road if the Iraqi crisis settles down and the South Korean government comes up with a stimulus package to add some vitality to the bourse.
Foreigners offloaded a net 455.2 billion won while retail investors bought a net 269.3 billion won. Institutional investors scooped up a net 188.2 billion won.
Other tech shares also closed bearish, with chipmaker SK hynix losing 2.56 percent at 49,400 won and LG Electronics moving down 2.48 percent to 74,600 won. LG Display shed 1.79 percent to 30,250 won.
SK Telecom fell 1.64 percent to 239,500 won, while KT added 0.16 percent to 30,450 won. LG Uplus, the smallest mobile carrier, shed 2.3 percent to 9,330 won.
Carmakers also plunged, with No. 1 Hyundai Motor decreasing 2.46 percent to 218,000 won and its smaller affiliate, Kia Motors, losing 3.04 percent to 54,200 won. Top auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis shed 1.75 percent to 280,500 won.
The local currency ended at 1,020.60 won against the greenback, down 1.9 won from Thursday’s close. (Yonhap)