Korean stocks finished 1.26 percent lower on Wednesday as foreigners extended their selling amid concerns over Europe’s debt risks, analysts said. The local currency lost ground against the U.S. dollar.
After starting higher, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index slumped 25.89 points to 2,035.87. Trading volume was moderate at 341.8 million shares worth 6.84 trillion won ($6.2 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 570 to 246.
“Investor sentiment was dented by worries over eurozone debt problems and its possible negative influence on the credit ratings of European countries,” said Kwak Joong-bo, an analyst at Samsung Securities Co.
Offshore investors extended their net selling to a 10th session, the longest selling streak in almost 27 months.
Kwak, however, said foreign selling was mostly focused on autos and chemicals, which indicates their sell-offs were intended for profit-taking.
Stocks lost ground across the board, with chemicals leading the decline. OCI, the country’s top polysilicon maker, nosedived 11.29 percent to 440,000 won due to worries of price falls.
Techs were among decliners with market bellwether Samsung Electronics slipping 1.04 percent to 856,000 won and chip giant Hynix Semiconductor falling 4 percent to 30,000 won.
Autos finished mixed following a police crackdown on key supplier Yoosung Enterprise’s strike. Market leader Hyundai Motor stayed unchanged at 230,500 won, but Kia Motors inched down 0.28 percent to 70,200 won. Yoosung Enterprise soared 14.86 percent to 3,980 won.
Hana Financial Group finished at 39,000 won, up 1.83 percent from Tuesday’s close. Kim Seung-yu, chairman of the No. 4 banking group, said earlier in the day that Hana Financial is likely to complete negotiations with Lone Star Funds this week to extend a deal to buy a controlling stake in Korea Exchange Bank. KEB dipped 1.12 percent to 8,800 won.
Korea Zinc, the world’s No. 2 zinc smelter, jumped 3.34 percent to 386,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,101.8 won to the greenback, down 8.4 won from Tuesday’s close, as investor appetite for risky assets waned on eurozone risks, dealers said.