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Seoul shares end flat on auto falls, bank gains

Korean stocks finished nearly unchanged on Wednesday as losses among automakers outweighed bank gains, analysts said. The local currency climbed against the U.S. dollar.

After opening slightly higher, the benchmark KOSPI shed 0.05 percent, or 1.13 points to 2,141.34. Trading volume was moderate at 289 million shares worth 8.02 trillion won ($7.44 billion) with losers leading gainers 437 to 382.

“There was no additional momentum for the market to continue gains from the previous day,” said Lim Dong-rak, an analyst at Hanyang Securities Co. “After a surge on Tuesday, investors took to the sidelines.”

The KOSPI rose to a two-week high on Tuesday, boosted by the news that the European Union has moved forward to come up with another rescue package for Greece.

“Considering that the U.S. economic data overnight was downbeat, the local stocks managed to limit the fall,” he added.

Government data showed that consumer prices hovered above the 4 percent level for a fifth month in May, but they were not higher than market expectations, analysts said.

Foreign investors lent support, extending the buying streak to a second session, adding a net 47.4 billion won.

Auto exporters were bearish. Top carmaker Hyundai Motor slumped 3.56 percent to 243,500 won and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors fell 3.7 percent to 72,900 won.

Chipmaking giant Hynix Semiconductor sank 5.65 percent to 28,400 won on worries about its second-quarter earnings.

STX Offshore & Shipbuilding, however, jumped 6.36 percent to 30,100 won after it announced that it clinched $550 million in orders from Russia.

The local currency closed at 1,074.6 won to the greenback, up 4.6 won from Tuesday’s close, as offshore investors snapped up Seoul stocks, dealers said. 

(Yonhap News)