Stocks in Kospi sink as U.S. market faltersKorean stocks closed sharply lower yesterday as Wall Street pullbacks prompted sell-offs of shipyard and tech issues including Samsung Electronics, analysts said. The benchmark Kospi fell 24.55 points, or 1.4 percent, to 1,711.62.
Volume was moderate at 309.9 million shares worth 4.2 trillion won ($4.5 billion), with losers outpacing gainers, 471 to 300.
“Overnight losses in U.S. markets dented investor sentiment here, causing selling of blue chips,” said Bae Sung-young, an analyst at Hyundai Investment and Securities. “Though retailers bought shares, massive institutional selling seemed to intensify the decline later in the day.”
Most blue chips ended lower, with shipyard and tech exporters weighing on the market. Top shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries plunged 3.1 percent to 381,500 won on profit-taking.
Market-wide downswings also pared early sharp gains of smaller Samsung Heavy Industries, which ended just 0.6 percent higher at 31,950 won. Tech bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 3.5 percent to 560,000 won amid a widening investigation into Samsung Group over a range of allegations.
Financial and auto company declines added to the glum mood. Top lender Kookmin Bank lost 2.8 percent to 58,900 won and leading automaker Hyundai Motor fell 2.3 percent to 66,800 won.
On Thursday, U.S. stocks closed down as investors grew concerned over a possible slowdown on increased unemployment claim data. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.9 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index declined 0.9 percent
The local currency closed at 939 won to the U.S. dollar, down 2.5 won from Thursday’s close, as offshore investors snapped up the greenback, dealers said.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, surged. The return on the benchmark five-year government bonds fell 0.06 percentage point to 5.08 percent.