South Korean stocks took a breather Wednesday after hitting a yearly high the day before, closing flat from net selling by institutions and private investors, analysts said. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar.
Starting the day in negative territory, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index finished at 2,028.32, down a marginal 0.03 percent, or 0.61 point, from the previous trading session. Tuesday’s closing number of 2,028.93 was the highest for the country’s main bourse this year.
Trading volume was relatively moderate with more than 345.70 million shares worth 4.11 trillion won ($4.02 billion) changing hands. Advancers outpaced decliners, 435 to 399, and 41 were unchanged.
“Resistance to further gains caused the KOSPI to lose momentum, with some investors taking a wait-and-see stance ahead of second-quarter earnings reports,” said Kang Hyun-gie, an analyst at I’M Securities & Investment Co.
He added that while there remained an inflow of capital from abroad, thanks in part to growth pledges made by government policymakers, net selling by investment trust firms dragged down the market.
Foreign investors, who exert considerable influence on the market, maintained a net buying streak for the seventh straight day, although local investors offloaded more shares than they bought.
Tech giant Samsung Electronics, the flagship company of Samsung Group, surrendered 0.74 percent to 1,338,000 won per share.
Other IT-related companies lost ground, including global appliance manufacturer LG Electronics, which fell 0.14 percent to 73,900 won, and memory chip giant SK hynix, which backtracked 3.04 percent to 49,450 won.
The country’s No. 1 carmaker, Hyundai Motor, after bouncing back in the previous trading session, gave up 1.53 percent to 225,500 won, while its smaller affiliate, Kia Motors, lost 0.36 percent to 55,400 won.
Financial stocks rose to prop up the market, with Shinhan Financial Group and KB Financial Group all posting gains. Shinhan shares were up 0.65 percent to 46,400 won, with numbers for KB Financial rising 1.80 percent to 36,800 won.
Top steelmaker POSCO’s shares gained 2.75 percent to 318,000 won, while leading shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries moved up 2.41 percent to 170,000 won.
The local currency ended at 1,023.7 won to the U.S. dollar, up 0.7 won from the previous session.(Yonhap)