Stocks fall for an eighth day as China numbers spook market
Stocks retreated for an eighth straight session Tuesday as disappointing Chinese economic data raised concerns about a slowdown in the global economic recovery. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi slumped 28.2 points, or 0.89 percent, to close at 3,143.09 points.
Trading volume was high at about 680 million shares worth 21.9 trillion won ($18.6 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 786 to 117.
Foreigners sold a net 412 billion won, and institutions offloaded a net 134 billion won, while retail investors bought 590 billion won.
The key stock index opened with mild gains as the country's two largest chipmakers rose after tumbling on pessimism about a future DRAM prices.
Gains by financial and bank stocks, fueled by hopes of a steady economic rebound, lifted the stock index.
But stocks lost ground in the late morning as foreign and institutional selling increased on slower-than-expected growth in July in China.
Chinese retail and industrial output gauges in July fell short of market consensus. Overnight, the sluggish U.S. Empire State Manufacturing Index added to the investor worries that the economic rebound may lose its momentum.
Investors are seeking clues on the Fed's plan of tapering its stimulus from an address by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, set for Tuesday.
"Investors seem to be worried about the future chip demand and possibilities of China's economic slowdown," Eugene Investment & Securities analyst Huh Jae-hwan said. "We are expecting that the Federal Open Market Committee minutes would stay close to the market consensus, without causing big ripples in the market," he added.
In Seoul, Samsung Electronics lost 0.27 percent to 74,200 won, and chipmaker SK hynix closed unchanged at 101,500 won.
Naver decreased 1.83 percent to 428,500 won, while pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics moved up 2.95 percent to 1,012,000 won. Kakao Bank surged 14.1 percent to 87,400 won.
The Kosdaq lost 29.73 points, or 2.86 percent, to close at 1,011.05.
The local currency closed at 1,176.3 won to the dollar, up 7.3 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year government bonds lost 0.5 basis point to 1.402 percent, and the return on the benchmark 10-year government bond fell 1.0 basis point to 1.27 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]