Kospi hits lowest level in four months

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Kospi hits lowest level in four months

Korean stocks hit their lowest level in four months yesterday and extended their fall for a second straight day as fears of weak corporate earnings forced foreign investors to off-load their holdings.

The benchmark Kospi was down 21.05 points or 1.07 percent to close at 1,946.14, its lowest level since Sept. 4. Foreign investors off-loaded more than 321 billion won ($305 million) followed by institution investors.

Samsung Electronics fell 0.99 percent to 1.296 million won over concerns that its fourth-quarter performance in 2013 will not be impressive. This is the first time since Aug. 23, 2013, that the electronic giant’s share value has gone under 1.3 million won. LG Electronics lost 1.34 percent to hit 66,100 won, but SK Hynix, the major chipmaker in Korea, rose 2.11 percent to 36,300 won.

Automobile shares stayed weak although the level of decline improved from the previous day. Hyundai Motor dipped 0.22 percent to 224,000 won, while its affiliate Kia Motors remained unchanged at 52,700 won. Hyundai Mobis, the largest auto-parts maker, plunged 1.08 percent to 276,000 won.

Ssangyong Motor rose 1.96 percent to 7,290 won. The SUV specialist yesterday announced a future goal to sell 300,000 vehicles in 2016, which would push its total sales to 6 trillion won. Ssangyong was the only local automaker last year to report growth in both domestic and overseas sales.

Shipbuilders were also in decline. Hyundai Heavy Industries dived 1.97 percent to 248,500 won, while Samsung Heavy Industries slipped 2.5 percent to 37,100 won. Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering dipped 0.86 percent to 34,600 won.

Construction companies were also weak. Hyundai Engineering and Construction went down 1.67 percent to 59,000 won, while Daewoo E&C lost 1.41 percent to 6,990 won. GS E&C also declined 2.47 percent to 29,650 won.

Hanjin Shipping, the nation’s largest maritime shipper, plunged 4.38 percent to 7,210 won. However, No. 2 player Hyundai Merchant Marine inched up 3 percent to 12,000 won.

Web portal giant Naver lost 3.59 percent to 699.000 won, while its smaller rival Daum dipped 0.59 percent to 84,500 won. SK Communications soared 8.16 percent to 5,700 won.

BY JOO KYUNG-DON [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]

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