Seoul shares slip 0.15% on eurozone woes
Korean stocks fell 0.15 percent on Tuesday as investors offloaded shares following a credit cut on six eurozone countries, but losses were limited as the downgrade was largely expected, analysts said. The local currency fell against the U.S. dollar.
After retreating as much as 0.51 percent at one point, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ended 3.1 points lower at 2,002.64. Trading volume was heavy at 500.5 million shares worth 6.4 trillion won ($5.7 billion), with decliners slightly outweighing gainers 411 to 402.
"Lingering uncertainties over Greece's default and the eurozone debt crisis dampened investor sentiment," said Cho Byung-hyun, an analyst at Tong Yang Securities Inc.
Cho, however, said the credit action by Moody's Investors Service had a limited impact on the market as it was largely expected and less severe than previous downgrades. Last month, Standard & Poor's cut the ratings of nine European countries, including top-rated Austria and France.
"Investors also seem to be taking a breather following the KOSPI's sharp rise since the start of the year," said Cho, referring to the benchmark stock index's recovery to the 2,000 level.
Despite eurozone concerns, foreigners snapped up a net 138.2 billion won worth of stocks, extending their buying streak to a seventh session. Retailers joined the buying spree, with their net purchase reaching 146.7 billion won.
Large caps closed mixed. The world's No. 3 handset maker LG Electronics jumped 3.06 percent to 91,000 won.
Hynix Semiconductor rose 2.61 percent to 27,550 won on the back of it being bought by SK Telecom. Earlier in the day, main creditor bank Korea Exchange Bank said the leading mobile carrier completed its payment of 3.37 trillion won, becoming the new owner of Hynix Semiconductor. SK Telecom added 0.73 percent to 137,500 won.
Autos and oil refiners ended bearish. Leading automaker Hyundai Motor lost 1.13 percent to 219,000 won and top oil refiner SK Innovation fell 2.09 percent to 187,000 won.
Steelmakers also ended in negative territory, with Hyundai Steel slumping 3.42 percent to 113,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,123.9 won against the greenback, down 2 won from Monday's close, amid lingering concerns over the debt problems in Europe, dealers said.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed slightly higher. The yield on three-year Treasuries inched down 0.02 percentage point to 3.44 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds shed 0.01 percentage point to 3.57 percent. (Yonhap)