Dull Trading Day On Seoul Markets

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Dull Trading Day On Seoul Markets

Seoul shares closed lower Friday in lackluster trading, led by losses in key blue chips in response to the 1.2-percent decline on the U.S. Nasdaq market. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index shed 4.99 points, or 0.9 percent, to 556.63, off a high of 563.76 and a low of 553.67. Trading volume dropped to 231 million shares, the lowest level this year, with daily turnover falling to 1.2 trillion won ($904 million). Losers outpaced gainers 445 to 321, with 83 stocks unchanged. Nine shares shot up by the daily limit of 15 percent, while six tumbled by the limit.

"Investors went to the sidelines ahead of the announcement of first-quarter GDP," said Kim Jung-pyo, an analyst at Kyobo Securities Co.

Investor sentiment was dampened further by a drop in the value of the won triggered by a weaker Japanese yen. The won dropped 14.3 won to 1,327.6 won against the U.S. dollar.

Foreign investors bought shares worth 37.8 billion won, but the purchase was not big enough to prop up the market, analysts said.

Samsung Electronics Co. lost 2.9 percent to 217,000 won following the 1.1 percent drop in the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index, which international investors use to gauge the performances of chipmakers. SK Telecom Co. was off 2 percent to 216,500 won.

Limiting the index's losses, Korea Telecom Corp. inched up 0.5 percent to 59,600 won and Kookmim Bank gained 1 percent to 15,050 won.

Construction issues were also higher after the government announced that it will begin to build new satellite cities around Seoul. LG Engineering & Construction Co. rose 1.6 percent to 6,500 won.

The Kosdaq market also fell for a second day on retail selling. Its composite index eased 1.02 points, or 1.3 percent, to 75.32 on volume of 3.5 million shares worth 1.5 trillion won.

Korea Telecom Freetel fell 1.8 percent to 45,000 won and Serome Technology slid 4.2 percent to 17,000 won.

by Kim Hyun-chul

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