Stocks End Lower on Foreign Selling
South Korean stocks ended substantially lower Wednesday as foreign investors pulled money out of steel, tech and other large-cap issues, analysts said.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 18.81 points, or 0.96 percent, to 1,930.70. Volume was heavy at 606 million shares worth 8.25 trillion won (US$8.97 billion), with losers outpacing winners 404 to 381.
"While opening higher in line with the U.S. stock market, the main index fell as foreign investors, burdened by the recent rally, dumped most blue chips in the afternoon," said Kim Young-gak, an analyst at Hyundai Securities.
Top steelmaker POSCO, which announced stellar quarterly earnings in the previous session, plummeted 5.41 percent to end at 525,000 won from profit taking.
Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world's No. 1 shipyard, slid 2.87 percent to 372,000 won. Other shipbuilders also ended in negative terrain.
Tech shares also ended in the minus column. Market leader Samsung Electronics fell 1.54 percent to 640,000 won and flat panel giant LG.Philips LCD tumbled 3.48 percent to 41,550 won.
Brokerage issues, however, chalked up strong gains, as investors bet that the KOSPI may soon break the 2,000-point mark for the first time. Top brokerage Samsung Securities climbed 3.04 percent to 88,100 won. Builders also sustained the bellwether index from dropping further. Industry leader Daewoo Engineering & Construction added 0.88 percent to 28,700 won.
The local currency finished at 916.10 won to the U.S. dollar, up 2.1 won from Monday's close, as offshore investors unloaded the greenback. The local financial market was closed Tuesday for Constitution Day.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, rose. The return on benchmark three-year Treasuries fell 0.02 percentage point to 5.40 percent and the yield on five-year government bonds also slid 0.02 percentage point to 5.48 percent.