Published : 2013-02-12 16:08
Updated : 2013-02-12 16:08
South Korean stocks closed 0.26 percent lower Tuesday, driven by foreign-led program selling, with North Korea's nuclear test having little effect on the market, analysts said. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) inched down 5.11 points to finish at 1,945.79. Trading volume was light at
303.5 million shares worth 2.81 trillion won (US$2.56 billion) with losers outstripping gainers 465 to 311.
“Foreigners went on a net selloff in futures trading. North Korea's nuclear test made no remarkable impact on the local stock market because it was expected since Pyongyang has consistently been outspoken about its plan to do so," said Kim Chul-joong, an analyst at Korea Investment & Securities Co.
Pyongyang confirmed it conducted its third nuclear test in defiance of repeated international warnings, after Seoul detected an unusually powerful seismic tremor near the North's nuclear site in its northeast shortly before noon.
Overseas investors unloaded a net 471.0 billion won worth of futures. Institutions dumped a net 160.4 billion won on profit-taking, driving the main index down.
The streak of a rangebound trading on the KOSPI is reflected in the light volume, stemming from a lack of momentum, but the latest improvement in U.S. and Chinese economic data leaves the market some hopes for an upward movement in future, Kim added.
Shares of utilities and insurance companies led the fall, with state-run electricity provider Korea Electric Power Corp. declining
2.55 percent to 30,550 won and leading life insurer Samsung Life Insurance dipping 2.39 percent to 102,000 won.
Food makers lost ground on concerns over the slowing domestic economy, with confectionery maker Orion tumbling 3.39 percent to 912,000 won.
In contrast, blue-chip tech firms finished bullish. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics climbed 0.41 percent to 1,468,000 won and chipmaker SK hynix gained 1.01 percent to 25,000 won.
The local currency ended at 1,090.80 won against the greenback, up 4.9 won from Friday's close, despite heightened tension over North Korea's nuclear test, dealers said. The Seoul bourse was closed on Monday for the Lunar New Year holiday. (Yonhap News)