Kospi down big after U.S. losses overnight

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Kospi down big after U.S. losses overnight

Korean stocks fell almost 2 percent yesterday as investors sold tech and financial shares on overnight pullbacks in U.S. markets, analysts said.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index declined 33.41 points, or 1.88 percent, to 1,740.72. Volume was moderate at 395.9 million shares worth 4.6 trillion won ($4.48 billion), with losers outpacing gainers, 578 to 232.

“Uncertainty about oil prices and worries over the U.S. economy dented investor sentiment,” said Park Suk-hyun, an analyst at Eugene Investment and Securities.

“The Seoul bourse extended earlier losses in late trading as Asia’s markets fell steeply in the afternoon,” he said, adding that stabilization of oil prices would play a key role in boosting investor sentiment.

U.S. stocks closed lower Wednesday on renewed credit crunch woes and a weaker earnings outlook for FedEx Corporation. The Dow Jones industrial average shed 1.08 percent and the tech-dominated Nasdaq composite index fell 1.14 percent.

The Asian markets lost ground with Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average falling 2.23 percent. Foreign investors remained net sellers of local stocks for the ninth straight session.

Tech blue chips were hit hard on concerns that a stronger won against the greenback may dent their second-quarter earnings. Tech bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 4.1 percent to 675,000 won and chip giant Hynix Semiconductor declined 2.1 percent. Consumer electronics giant LG Electronics shed 5.5 percent.

Financial shares traded lower on renewed concerns over a credit squeeze. Top lender Kookmin Bank shed 2.7 percent and Shinhan Financial Group, the No. 2 financial services firm, fell 2.7 percent.

Hankook Tire, the country’s largest tire maker, lost 5.2 percent after saying on Wednesday that France’s Michelin raised its stake in the Korean company to 8.9 percent from 6 percent.

Shares of STX Group started stronger on a report that it has an interest in bidding to acquire Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, but they lost ground later. STX, the holding company of STX Group, slipped 4.1 percent and leading bulk carrier STX Pan Ocean declined 3.8 percent.

The local currency closed at 1,026.0 won against the dollar.Yonhap
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