Wall Street selling sends stocks into a dive

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Wall Street selling sends stocks into a dive

Korean stocks ended sharply lower yesterday on a foreign selling spree triggered by steep overnight losses on Wall Street, analysts said.

The benchmark Kospi tumbled 33.21 points, or 1.93 percent, to 1,684.45.

Volume was moderate at 280.7 million shares worth 4.01 trillion won ($3.83 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 614 to 199.

“The continued selling by foreign investors weighed heavily on the local market, despite efforts by institutions and retail investors sustaining the key index,” said Lim Dong-min, an analyst at Dongbu Securities.

U.S. stocks plunged Thursday, as oil prices hit another record high and Goldman Sachs urged investors to sell bank and automaker shares, escalating concerns about the outlook for profits.

The market was depressed overall, with tech exporters falling hard. Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics tumbled 3.31 percent to 643,000 won and LG Electronics slipped 3.63 percent to 119,500 won after Lehman Brothers Holdings cut the company’s price estimate.

Other exporters lost substantially as well. Top automaker Hyundai Motor, whose union yesterday completed its voting on whether to strike, lost 5.4 percent, to 72,500 won, the most since Jan. 15.

Kia Motors Corp., Korea’s second-biggest automaker, slipped 3.8 percent, to 11,350 won, the most since June 3.

Separately, South Korean auto sales will be “lackluster’’ for the rest of the year as oil prices rise and consumer confidence declines, CLSA Ltd. said in a report.

The brokerage maintained an “underperform’’ recommendation for Hyundai.

Leading steelmaker Posco fell 1.3 percent to 533,000 won.

Financial shares were also rattled. Leading nonlife insurer Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance retreated 2.66 percent to end at 219,500 won and top lender Kookmin Bank slumped 1.59 percent to 617,000 won.

Oil-dependent companies are also among the hardest hit. Korean Air Lines, the nation’s biggest carrier, fell 4.3 percent to 50,900, the most since June 9. Korea Line Corp., the second-largest bulk shipping line, retreated 0.9 percent to 174,000, the lowest since June 16. Yonhap, Bloomberg
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