U.S., China news depresses local market

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U.S., China news depresses local market

Korean stocks slid again yesterday on worries about the global economy following weaker-than-expected economic data from the United States and China.

The Kospi dipped 33.11 points, or 1.72 percent, to close at 1,886.85 points. Foreign investors led the decline by selling more than 663 billion won ($611 million) worth of stocks.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 1.81 percent to hit 1.249 million won, while its rival LG Electronics also shed 2.04 percent to hit 62,500 won. However, LG Display rose 1.2 percent to 25,350 won on the news that the company defended its title as the world’s largest large-sized liquid crystal display (LCD) seller for four years in row, according to data from DisplaySearch.

Hyundai Motor sank 2.38 percent to 226,000 won, but its smaller affiliate Kia Motors climbed 0.75 percent to 54,000 won. Both automakers reported records in January sales in the United States and China.

Steelmakers were weak. Posco, the nation’s largest steelmaker, saw a 1.69 percent decline to 290,000 won, while No. 2 player Hyundai Steel plunged 3.2 percent to 72,600 won.

Dongkuk Steel lost 3.29 percent to 11,750 won despite the company posting a solid performance last year. The steelmaker said in a regulatory filing that it had sales of 6.67 trillion won and an operating profit of 76.3 billion won in 2013. Although annual sales were down 13.1 percent from a year ago, operating profit returned to the black after an operating loss of 69.3 billion won in 2012.

The world’s largest ship builder, Hyundai Heavy Industries, dropped 2.27 percent to 215,500 won, while Samsung Heavy Industries lost 3.51 percent to 31,600 won. Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering was down 1.52 percent to 32,300 won.

No. 1 shipper Hanjin Shipping rose 0.48 percent to 6,240 won, but No. 2 player Hyundai Merchant Marine plunged 7.14 percent to 14,300 won. Pan Ocean, which is now separate from the STX Group, jumped 1.47 percent to 4,500 won on rumors that it is looking for a new owner.

Shares of cash-strapped STX Group rose following expectations that creditors could inject additional money to revive the fallen conglomerate. STX Corp. soared 9.36 percent to 1,635 won.

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