Stocks pause for breath after eight days of highs

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Stocks pause for breath after eight days of highs

Profit-taking in financial and brokerage shares pushed stock markets lower yesterday. The benchmark Kospi declined 4.57 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,889.96. The drop put a stop to eight days of record-breaking new highs.
“The key index lost ground with foreign and institutional investors taking profits,” said Kang Moon-sung, an analyst at Korea Investment & Securities. “But a steep correction is not likely since solid corporate earnings and good economic data will sustain the market.”
Numbers fell earlier in the session on overnight losses in New York. The index gained ground later on as retail investors looked for bargain, said analysts. It peaked at 1,900 but failed to stabilize.
Kookmin Bank, the dominant lender, fell 3 percent after announcing that it has not pushed to take over SK Securities, a mid-sized brokerage house. Shinhan Financial Group also shed 0.2 percent.
Brokerage shares stayed in negative territory after the government said it is considering lowering commissions on fund sales. Samsung Securities declined 2 percent.
Utilities increased again. Korea Electric Power Corporation, the biggest electricity provider, added 2 percent. Taegu City Gas rose for four consecutive days on news that it plans to launch a reusable energy project in Mongolia.
Tech blue chips also bucked the trend. Samsung Electronics was up 1 percent at 635,000 won ($691) and Hynix Semiconductor added 1.3 percent. LG.Philips, despite a positive earnings announcement on Tuesday, shed 2.7 percent.
Volume was moderate with 469.6 million shares worth 6.3 trillion won traded. Losers outnumbered winners 426 to 354.
The Kosdaq reached the 820 mark for the first time in five years finishing at 820.02, up 5.17 points, or 0.6 percent. More than 467 million shares worth 1.9 trillion won were traded. Gainers slightly outnumbered losers 464 to 461.
By Hwang Young-jin Staff Writer [yhwang@joongang.co.kr]
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