Stocks fall on fears of North nuclear test
Korean stocks closed lower Tuesday, the sixth consecutive session drop amid rising concerns over a potential nuclear test by Pyongyang, analysts said.
The benchmark Kospi fell 9.47 points, or 0.44 percent, to close at 2,123.85. Trade volume was moderate at 460.2 million shares worth 4 trillion won ($3.49 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 409 to 384.
Analysts attributed the drop to escalating concerns that the North will soon press ahead with another nuclear test and a long-range missile launch. Concerns over a potential clash with the North have been fueled by the recent U.S. air strike against Syria.
“The influence of the geopolitical crisis of the Korean peninsula may continue for the time being,” said Lee Kyung-min, a researcher at Daishin Securities.
Foreigners offloaded a net 127.7 billion won, while individual investors scooped up a net 31.6 billion won. Institutions bought a net 97.7 billion won.
Tech shares closed mixed, with Samsung Electronics falling 0.81 percent to 2,080,000 won and SK hynix losing 0.31 percent at 48,850 won. Top portal operator Naver tumbled 5.87 percent to 770,000 won on fears that its Line mobile messenger’s growth is slowing and first-quarter earnings falling short of market expectations. LG Display advanced 2.49 percent at 30,850 won on speculation that Google may invest 1 trillion won in its OLED production line. Affiliate LG Electronics picked up 2.36 percent to end at 69,500 won.
Carmakers lost ground, with Hyundai Motor falling 2.4 percent to 142,500 won and Kia Motors dropping 1.55 percent to 35,000 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis shed 1.58 percent to 218,500 won.
Steelmakers also closed lower, with No. 1 Posco falling 0.37 percent to 271,500 won and Korea Zinc sliding 0.12 percent to 409,500 won. Hyundai Steel fell 0.35 percent to 56,200 won.
The local currency closed at 1,145.80 won against the U.S. dollar, down 3.6 won from the previous session.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 2.9 basis points to 1.693 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond shed 3.9 basis points to 1.887 percent.
BY SEO JI-EUN, YONHAP [email@example.com]