South Korean stocks finished lower on Friday as weak U.S. data prompted foreign investors to sell, analysts said. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index fell 6.54 points, or 0.33 percent, to 1,988.51. Trading volume was low at 212.7 million shares worth 2.96 trillion won ($2.92 billion), with gainers outpacing decliners 424 to 359.
“Institutions continued to buy. Foreigners, who have been shifting in and out of selling mode, turned to selling after U.S. consumer spending data was released,” said Im No-jung, an analyst at I’M Investment & Securities.
U.S. government data showed that consumer spending rose 0.2 percent in May, lower than a projection of 0.4 percent.
Remarks by James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, that forecast a rate rise in the first quarter also affected investor sentiment.
Tech heavyweights ended in negative territory.
Samsung Electronics fell 1.06 percent to 1,311,000 won, and chipmaker SK hynix lost 2.56 percent to 47,500 won. Dongbu Group units saw their shares tumble as their mother group faces growing risk of a liquidity crisis. Dongbu CNI plunged 15 percent to 1,955 won, and Dongbu Engineering & Construction slumped 7.62 percent to 1,030 won.
In contrast, LG Household & Healthcare rose 1.34 percent to 455,000 won after dropping a plan to buy U.S. cosmetics brand Elizabeth Arden. The local currency ended at 1,013.4 won against the greenback, up 2.8 won from Thursday’s close after the central bank released monthly current account data.
South Korea posted a current surplus of $9.3 billion in May, extending its surplus streak to 27th straight month. (Yonhap)