Shares remain flat despite eurozone woes
Korean stocks finished almost unchanged on Friday in the face of fresh woes over the eurozone debt problem, analysts said. The local currency declined against the U.S. dollar.
Reversing earlier losses, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) edged up 0.26 points, or 0.01 percent, to close at 2,029.03. Trading volume was moderate at 529 million shares worth 4.39 trillion won ($3.88 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 357 to 472.
A rise in Spain's borrowing costs reignited concerns after the yield on Spain's 10-year Treasuries rose to the highest since December on Thursday. Meanwhile, investors showed a muted response to upbeat U.S. job data.
"Investors are worried that it will take more time for Spain's fiscal problems to be resolved," said Ma Ju-ok, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities.
Analysts said a stronger-than-expected earnings report from Samsung Electronics helped prevent the local stock market from slipping into negative territory.
Tech firms, chemicals makers and automakers finished in positive terrain, while shipbuilders and other large-cap shares suffered losses.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 0.15 percent to close at 1,332,000 won, after providing an estimate of a record operating profit of 5.8 trillion won in the first quarter of the year.
LG Electronics, the country's leading home appliance maker, gained 1.36 percent to end at 81,900 won.
South Korea's leading automobile exporters also jumped, backed by strong March sales in the recovering U.S. auto market and their rosy earnings outlook.
Industry leader Hyundai Motor added 0.19 percent to end at 264,500 won. Hyundai Mobis, the country's leading auto parts maker, also advanced 1.13 percent to end at 312,000 won.
LG Chem, the country's leading chemicals maker, jumped 2.57 percent to end at 359,500 won.
But other large-cap shares closed mixed.
Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world's largest shipbuilder, dropped 1.11 percent to close at 312,000 won, and its smaller rival Samsung Heavy Industries slipped 0.27 percent to end at 37,600 won.
POSCO, the country's leading steelmaker, added 0.13 percent to close at 372,500 won, while Hyundai Steel slipped 0.95 percent to end at 104,000 won.
The local currency finished at 1,131.35 won to the greenback, down 4.5 won from Thursday's close, as investors shunned risky assets, dealers said.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasuries fell 0.02 percentage point to 3.54 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds dropped 0.02 percentage point to 3.69 percent. (Yonhap)