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Shipbuilders founder amid a sinking Kospi

Mar 11,2008
Seoul stocks started this week extremely weak after Wall Street sank on Friday. The benchmark Kospi index declined 38.80, or 2.3 percent, to close at 1,625.17 yesterday, its lowest since the end of January. About 312 million shares valued at 4.3 trillion won ($4.4 billion) changed hands on the main bourse. Losing shares overwhelmed gainers, 680 to 145.
Analysts said investor sentiment for Asian markets deteriorated after the U.S. Dow Jones industrial average slipped 1.2 percent on Friday due to an unexpectedly weak employment report for February.
Shipbuilders led the drop among Seoul stocks yesterday. Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world’s largest shipbuilder, sank 7.5 percent, to 353,500 won. Samsung Heavy Industries, the second-largest, dropped 5.1 percent, though it said it won a 1.3 trillion won order to build three liquefied natural gas production and storage facilities for a European customer.
Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, the world’s third-largest, and Hyundai Mipo Dockyard, an affiliate of Hyundai Heavy, lost 7.4 percent and 8 percent, respectively.
“Foreign investors who purchased the shipbuilding shares at low prices unloaded them to take profits,” said Lim Chai-gu, an analyst at Kyobo Securities. “The selling spree does not seem to have resulted from concerns about local shipbuilders’ soundness.”
Other core blue chips were mixed. Posco slid 1.2 percent. Korea Electric Power Corporation fell 1.2 percent amid rising fuel costs. Leading power generator maker Doosan Heavy Industries plummeted 6.2 percent.
On the other hand, top mobile carrier SK Telecom gained 0.8 percent. Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics added 0.7 percent.
The secondary Kosdaq closed at 622.60, down 21.15 points, or 3.3 percent. Trade volume was 482.9 million shares worth 1.2 trillion won.


By Moon So-young Staff Reporter [symoon@joongang.co.kr]



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