South Korean stocks closed slightly lower Tuesday as institutions dumped shares after the quarter-end buying in the previous session, analysts said. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index shed 3.21 points, or 0.16 percent, to 1,999. Trading volume was low at 233.8 million shares worth 2.9 trillion won ($2.8 billion), with gainers outpacing decliners 490 to 303.
Analysts saw the fall as a temporary downturn that comes after fund managers’ quarter-end buying, known as window-dressing, aimed at improving the appearance of their portfolio.
“Institutions were on a selling spree after they bought some high-flying stocks near the end of the quarter,” Lim No-joong, an analyst at I’M Investment & Securities Co., said. “The overall sentiment is moderate as South Korea’s exports grew in June and the U.S. economy is on a recovery track. I expect that the KOSPI can rebound to break the 2,000 mark later this week.”
South Korea’s exports increased 2.5 percent in June after last month’s decline, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Foreigners scooped up a net 100.9 billion won, and retail investors bought 34.9 billion won, while institutional investors sold a net 124.6 billion won.
Market heavyweights traded mixed.
Tech shares were down, with top market cap Samsung Electronics declining 0.9 percent to 1.31 million won and chipmaker SK hynix falling 0.2 percent to 48,450 won.
Investors also offloaded auto shares. Top automaker Hyundai Motor retreated 0.22 percent to 229,000 won, and its smaller affiliate, Kia Motors, lost 1.59 percent to 55,700 won.
In contrast, builders traded bullish. GS Engineering & Construction jumped 6.97 percent to 25,595 won, and top builder Hyundai Engineering and Construction added 1.91 percent to 58,700 won.
SK Telecom, the nation’s largest mobile carrier, rose 2.96 percent to 243,500 won, and NAVER, the nation’s most-visited portal, surged 1.08 percent to 844,400 won.
Samsung SDI, a battery arm of Samsung Group, surged 3.7 percent to 168,000 won following a pre-session announcement that it will suspend production of display panels in November to focus on materials and energy businesses. The company recently completed a merger with another Samsung affiliate, Cheil Industries, which produces electronic and chemical materials.
The local currency ended at 1,011.7 won against the greenback, up 0.1 won from Monday’s close. (Yonhap)