Sales of blue chips lower shares in Korean market

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Sales of blue chips lower shares in Korean market

Korean stocks closed down Tuesday as investors unloaded shipyard, brokerage and other blue chips, analysts said.
The benchmark Kospi fell 11.66 points or 0.6 percent, to 1,811.51 points. Volume was thin at 268.1 million shares worth 5 trillion won ($5 billion), with losers outpacing winners, 440 to 333.
“Following recent rallies, investors seemed to be taking a breath or trimming their holdings in major shares,” said Bae Sung-young, an analyst at Hyundai Securities. “Particularly, shipyard, brokerage and airline shares took a heavy beating.”
Top shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries plunged 5.6 percent to 355,000 won after some brokerage firms painted a gloomy outlook for the industry, citing rising steel prices. Smaller Samsung Heavy Industries also fell 2.6 percent to 34,400 won.
Hanarotelecom, Korea’s second-largest provider of high-speed Internet, slid 750 won, or 8.3 percent, to 8,240, the lowest since Nov. 6. Samsung Securities cut its six-month price estimate to 12,000 won, from 13,000 won, in a report, saying the benefits of a merger with SK Telecom may take “longer than expected” to show.
Brokerage shares added to the downward move amid investor concern that moves by some players to cut transaction fees would intensify price competition. Industry leader Mirae Asset Securities lost 2.9 percent to 136,500 won.
Rising oil prices took their toll on airline companies. The nation’s No. 1 flag carrier Korean Air Lines dropped 3.9 percent to 52,300 won on worries that high oil prices could raise operation costs and dent overall profitability.
Auto makers, however, closed higher on optimism that a weak local currency could boost their exports going forward. Top carmaker Hyundai Motor gained 0.4 percent to 83,300 won, while its affiliate Kia Motors rose 1.9 percent to 13,250 won. Auto parts manufacturer Hyundai Mobis surged 3.1 percent to 89,000 won.
The tech-heavy Kosdaq closed at 644.40, down 3.20 points or 0.5 percent. Yonhap, Bloomberg
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