Market slips a bit on tech and auto losses

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Market slips a bit on tech and auto losses

Korean stocks finished 0.44 percent lower yesterday led by the massive selling by foreigners and losses in tech and auto shares. The local currency fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi fell 8.9 points close at 1,995.99. Trading volume was low at 264.5 million shares worth 2.57 trillion won ($2.3 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers.

Hyundai Motor, Korea’s biggest automaker, fell the most in more than a week in Seoul. STX Pan Ocean led losses among STX Group units in Seoul after failing to draw interest for a stake in the commodities shipping company.

STX Pan Ocean tumbled 10 percent in Seoul after failing to draw interest for a controlling stake in the company under the STX Group’s plan to raise 2.5 trillion won to pay debt. STX Group is selling assets and working with creditor Korea Development Bank on ways to improve its finances.

Hyundai Motor lost 0.9 percent, the most since March 21. Tech behemoth Samsung Electronics dropped 0.98 percent to 1,512,000 won and was the biggest drag on the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

In contrast, Korea Electric Corporation rose 2.97 percent to 31,200 won on the back of positive outlooks for its annual profit. NHN, the operator of the country’s No.1 portal Naver, also gained 6.14 percent to 294,000 won.

The won fell to a one-week low as worsening relations with North Korea heightened the risk of conflict. The won led Asian currencies lower, falling 0.3 percent against the dollar.

North Korea said on March 30 that a “state of war” exists with the South and threatened to shut a jointly run industrial zone in its border city of Kaesong.

Tensions have been rising since North Korea detonated a nuclear device in February and the U.S. and South Korea began military exercises last month.

Overseas shipments rose 0.4 percent in March from a year earlier, after an 8.6 percent drop in February, the country’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said today. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 11 economists was for a 1.8 percent gain.

By Kim Jung-yoon, Bloomberg [ ]

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