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Wall Street woes send Korean stocks down

June 24,2008
Korean stocks finished lower yesterday for the third consecutive session as investor sentiment was dampened by steep Wall Street losses in the previous session, analysts said.

The Kospi dipped under the 1,700-mark during trading hours. The Korean won plunged against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi declined 15.41 points, or 0.89 percent, to 1,715.59. Volume was moderate at 298.6 million shares worth 3.67 trillion won ($3.53 billion), with losers outpacing gainers, 492 to 314.

“Wall Street losses on Friday seem to have dampened investor sentiment,” said Lim Dong-min, an analyst at Dongbu Securities, noting that institutions and retail investors prevented the key index from losing further ground.

U.S. stocks fell sharply Friday as rising oil prices and warnings of more mortgage-related write-downs at banks rekindled investor fears. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 1.83 percent and the tech-dominated Nasdaq composite index tumbled 2.27 percent.

Large caps lost heavily across the board, with steel and insurance stocks rattled. Top steelmaker Posco tumbled nearly 2.36 percent to 539,000 won, and leading non-life insurer Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance plunged 2.7 percent to 216,000 won.

Export-oriented shares also fell hard. Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics dropped 1.5 percent to 658,000 won and its industry rival, LG Electronics, plunged 3.52 percent to 123,500 won. Top automaker Hyundai Motor lost 1.92 percent to 76,700 won, and its affiliate, Kia Motors, also ended lower. Builders finished lower as well, with top domestic builder Daewoo Engineering and Construction sliding 2.67 percent to 16,400 won.

Lotte Confectionery, Korea’s biggest maker of candy and cookies, gained 48,000 won, or 4 percent, to 1.249 million won, the highest since May 6. The company and its Japanese affiliate will buy Belgian chocolate maker Chocolaterie Guylian for 105 million euros ($164 million) to expand into the European market, Lotte said.

The tech-heavy Kosdaq also declined. It ended at 605.71, down 3.45 points or 0.57 percent. NHN, the Kosdaq index’s biggest company by market value, dropped 1.7 percent, to 178,500, the lowest since Aug. 30.

Yonhap, Bloomberg


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