Shares drop 1.04% on eurozone woes
Korean stocks fell 1.04 percent on Monday as lingering concerns over the eurozone debt situation overshadowed hopes for positive U.S. economic data, analysts said. The local currency slipped against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) slumped 19.14 points to 1,820.03. Trading volume was moderate at 296.6 million shares worth 3.93 trillion won ($3.45 billion), with decliners outnumbering gainers 543 to 292.
"Persistent worries over Europe's debt debacle limited gains, but anticipations of rosy U.S. economic data as well as Black Friday spending bolstered the KOSPI," said Cho Byung-hyun, an analyst at Tong Yang Securities Inc.
"Unless an unexpected event occurs, it seems that the KOSPI will keep moving in a narrow range throughout this week amid a lack of strong momentum," Cho said.
Blue chips largely lost ground as lingering uncertainties in advanced economies sapped investor appetite for key exporters.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics dipped 1.35 percent to 950,000 won and Hyundai Motor lost 1.35 percent to 218,500 won.
Energy companies also ended in negative territory amid a fall in oil price over the weekend. Industry leader SK Innovation lost 2.95 percent to 164,500 won and smaller S-Oil tumbled 5.22 percent to 109,000 won.
In contrast, Korea Electric Power Corp., the state-run electricity provider, rose 2.34 percent to 24,100 won following a board decision to push for a 10 percent price hike starting next month.
No. 4 banking group Hana Financial Group soared 4.49 percent to 37,200 won on growing hopes it will succeed in acquiring a majority stake in Korea Exchange Bank (KEB). KEB slipped 0.63 percent to 7,850 won.
On Friday, the country's financial regulator Financial Services Commission (FSC) ordered Lone Star Funds to reduce its 51.02 percent interest in KEB to below 10 percent within six months, paving the way for the completion of a 4.41 trillion won deal with Hana Financial.
"Some say that the six months the FSC gave to Lone Star may weaken the bargaining position of Hana and Lone Star may look for other buyers. In our view, Hana's acquisition of KEB will be completed before the end of this year," Jeffrey Choi, an analyst at Daishin Securities Co., said in a report.
"With continuing public outcry, both Lone Star and Hana want to waste no time in getting the deal done," Choi said.
Retailers also bounced back from recent losses, with Hyundai Department Store adding 3.07 percent to 151,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,140.7 won against the greenback, down 1.8 won from Friday's close, amid nagging eurozone debt woes and the KOSPI's retreat, dealers said.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed marginally lower. The yield on three-year Treasuries inched up 0.01 percentage point to 3.37 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds also added 0.01 percentage point to 3.51 percent.