Traders hedge their bets as Kospi dips down a bitSeoul’s main stock market declined yesterday as foreign investors turned cautious while looking for trading hints from key U.S. employment data due late last night. Major banking shares, including Kookmin and Woori, dragged the market down.
The benchmark Kospi inched down 0.31 points, or 0.02 percent, to end at 1,423.58.
Samsung Electronics, Korea’s largest listed firm by market value, gained 2.1 percent to 586,000 won ($618). Posco, the nation’s largest steelmaker, also rose 1.9 percent. The U.S. Labor Department is expected to announce February payroll data yesterday morning, local time, which could affect share prices.
Kookmin Bank lost 0.5 percent while the Shinhan Financial Group shed 2 percent. Woori skidded 4.1 percent.
Korea Exchange Bank, however, rose 0.3 percent after its board offered a second term to current chief executive Richard Wacker.
Tech shares fared relatively well, as SK Telecom, Korea’s largest wireless operator, climbed up 0.8 percent and Hynix Semiconductor rose 0.3 percent.
LG Philips LCD gained 1 percent after LG Group chairman Koo Bon-moo said the company is in talks with a new business partner to take over a 33 percent stake in LG Philips from Royal Philips Electronics.
Industry analysts said Matshusita Electric Industrial is the most likely candidate.
Trading volume was 223.4 million shares, worth 3 trillion won. Decliners led advancers, 403 to 346.
The tech-laced Kosdaq rose 1.72 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 613.41.
Asiana Airline rose 3.6 percent as the latest economic data showed local transportation volume rising, and global oil prices stabilizing.
Trading volume was 663.5 million shares, worth 2 trillion won. Gainers beat losers, 486 to 412.
By Jung Ha-won Staff Writer [firstname.lastname@example.org]