Shares dip 0.37% on mixed US data, eurozone woes
Korean stocks closed 0.37 percent lower on Tuesday on mixed economic data from the United States and lingering eurozone concerns, analysts said. The local currency fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), which started trading in positive territory, surrendered 7.33 points to close at 1,985.30. Trading volume was moderate at 439 million shares worth 3.92 trillion won ($3.44 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 416 to 390.
The slight drop marks the second session in a row that the country's main bourse lost ground after rebounding to the psychologically important 2,000-point mark on Friday.
"U.S. retail sales in March posted solid gains, but this was offset by losses in the housing market and the New York manufacturing index," said Lee Seung-joon, an analyst at HI Investment and Securities Co.
He said that Spain's debt problems are raising market concerns over the soundness of eurozone economies as a whole.
Others such as Kwon Kyu-baek, an analyst at Etrade Securities, said European woes are exerting negative influence because the U.S. and Chinese economies are showing no solid signs of improvement.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics shed 0.79 percent to close at 1,249,000 won while LG Electronics, the country's leading home appliance maker, gained 0.92 percent to end at 76,700 won.
Share prices for leading steelmaker POSCO remained unchanged at 381,000 won with Hyundai Steel declining 1.87 percent to end at 105,000 won.
Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world's largest shipmaker, rose 0.81 percent to 310,000 won, with Hyundai Engineering & Construction remaining flat at 76,500 won. Daewoo Engineering & Construction gained 0.20 percent to 9,810 won.
Leading petrochemical company LG Chem lost 1.66 percent to 356,000 won.
Hyundai Motor, the country's largest carmaker, gave up 1.52 percent to 259,000 won with its affiliate Kia Motors also shedding 0.63 percent to 78,600 won.
The local currency finished at 1,140.5 won to the greenback, down 2 won from Monday's close, dealers said.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasuries held steady at 3.47 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds dipped 0.01 percentage point to 3.60 percent. (Yonhap)