South Korean stocks closed lower Friday as investors sought profit-taking after the benchmark index set new yearly records this week, analysts said. The South Korean won lost ground against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index shed 3.02 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,073.10. Trading volume was low at 266 million shares worth 4.93 trillion won ($4.78 billion), with gainers outpacing losers, 507 to 295.
Analysts said the decline came as investors took a breather and locked in gains as the main index soared Wednesday to its highest level since August 2011. The KOSPI passed the 2,090 level at one point during Wednesday’s trading.
“Investors also took a wait-and-see approach as the advanced countries posted mixed economic outlooks, with that of China remaining rosy while the United States still remained uncertain,” said Kang Hyun-gie, an analyst from I’M Investment & Securities Co.
“The market will take a breather for the time being with the release of second-quarter earnings by local listed firms and key economic data slated for the beginning of August,” Kang said.
Foreigners sold a net 66.2 billion won, and retail investors offloaded a net 183.5 billion won. Institutions bought a net 256.5 billion won.
Tech shares led the market’s decline, with Samsung Electronics falling 3.8 percent to 1,292,000 won. The tech giant said its net profit came to 6.25 trillion won for the April-June period, down 19.5 percent from a year earlier.
Carmakers closed mixed, with Hyundai Motor moving down 0.81 percent to 243,500 won while its auto parts arm Hyundai Mobis gained 0.16 percent to 209,500 won. Kia Motors climbed 0.16 percent to 61,000 won.
Mobile carriers also traded mixed, with SK Telecom falling 2.46 percent to 257,500 won, while No. 2 KT remained unchanged at 33,300 won. LG Uplus added 5.57 percent to 10,050 won.
CJ Korea Express gained 5.54 percent to 143,500 won on reports the firm will expand its business to cover Myanmar. Hyundai Merchant Marine added 2.88 percent to 10,700 won, and Hanjin Express moved up 1.08 percent to 5,610 won.
The local currency ended at 1,037.10 won against the greenback, down 9.2 won from Thursday’s close. (Yonhap)