The Korea Herald

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Shares down on profit-taking

By Korea Herald

Published : March 16, 2012 - 20:38

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Korean stocks ended 0.46 percent lower on Friday as investors opted to take profits from recent gains, analysts said. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index shed 9.32 points to close at 2,034.44. Trading volume was moderate at 441 million shares worth 5.1 trillion won ($4.53 billion), with decliners outnumbering gainers 451 to 363.

“Market uncertainties abated, but there are no positive factors to help upward momentum continue at the moment,” said Park Seung-jin, an analyst at Samsung Securities. “For the time being, the KOSPI will be range-bound.”

Most market heavyweights closed lower, with tech firms, automakers and shipbuilders leading the market decline.

Top-cap Samsung Electronics slipped 0.96 percent to 1,258,000 won and its smaller rival LG Electronics declined 1.71 percent to 91,700 won. The world’s second-largest chipmaker Hynix Semiconductor also fell 1.54 percent to 28,800 won.

Automakers and auto parts makers declined. In the few previous sessions, they rose on hopes that the free trade deal with the U.S. will boost their sales in the world’s largest economy.

Hyundai Motor, the country’s leading automaker, dropped 2.19 percent to end at 223,000 won, and No. 2 Kia Motors fell 1.1 percent to 72,000 won.

Shipbuilders also remained in negative territory. Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world’s largest shipbuilder, sank 1.06 percent to close at 328,000 won. Its smaller rival Samsung Heavy Industries also dropped 3.95 percent to end at 40,100 won.

The local currency closed at 1,125.55 won against the greenback, up 2.25 won from Thursday’s close, as offshore investors sold local shares, dealers said. 

(Yonhap News)