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Worry over China rate ends Kospi hot streak

Apr 20,2007
Korean stocks yesterday dropped by the highest margin this month, as investor sentiment was rattled by the possibility of an interest rate hike in China. The benchmark Kospi fell 20.92 points, or 1.4 percent, to close at 1,513.66.
“The main index plummeted as investors worried that China could try to cool its economy if its first-quarter economic growth is stronger than expected,” said Park Seok-hyun at Kyobo Securities. “Profit taking from recent gains also weighed on the market.”
China yesterday morning decided to postpone the announcement of its gross domestic product data from 10 a.m. Korean time to 4 p.m., an hour after the markets here were closed. China reported year-on-year growth of 11.1 percent, powered by exports.
That surge could lead China to increase its interest rate to cool the economy, which may weaken demand for Korean exports, analysts said. China is Korea’s largest export market. The same concern brought down China’s benchmark CSI 300 index by 4.7 percent.
Tech blue chips ended in negative territory. Bellwether Samsung Electronics shed 2.4 percent to 569,000 won ($613) on disappointing first quarter earnings. Hynix Semiconductor fell 3 percent. No. 2 electronics maker LG Electronics dropped 1.9 percent on weak earnings.
Auto shares lost ground. Top carmaker Hyundai Motor dropped 0.8 percent. Its affiliate Kia Motors fell 1.2 percent. Top steelmaker Posco declined 3.3 percent after finishing a share buyback Wednesday to stabilize its stock price.
Volume was 355.2 million shares worth 4.4 trillion won. Decliners trounced advancers 583 to 194.
The secondary Kosdaq slipped for the third straight session, losing 7.10 points, or 1 percent, to close at 682.85. Traded volume was 710.7 million shares for 2.2 trillion won. Decliners beat out advancers 657 to 279.


By Yoo Jee-ho Staff Writer [jeeho@joongang.co.kr]



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