Published : 2013-02-15 19:37
Updated : 2013-02-15 21:17
South Korean stocks closed marginally higher Friday as investors took a breather following a two-day rally and weak output data in the eurozone, analysts said.
The local currency strengthened against the U.S. dollar. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) edged up 1.57 points, or 0.08 percent, to finish at 1,981.18. Trading volume was heavy at 590.5 million shares worth 3.86 trillion won (US$3.56 billion) with gainers outpacing decliners 422 to 374.
"Lackluster corporate performance in the fourth quarter gave the market little leeway for a further strong uptrend," said Bae Sung-young, a Hyundai Securities Co. analyst. The main index bobbed in and out of positive terrain through the session.
Poor growth data in the debt-mired eurozone released overnight also sapped investor sentiment, Bae said, prompting them to stay on the sidelines.
The gross domestic product in the 17-nation economic bloc contracted 0.6 percent on-year in the fourth quarter, the worst since the first quarter of 2009.
Institutions snapped up a net 52.7 billion won, with foreigners buying a net 1.7 billion won, extending their buying binge for six straight sessions.
Shares finished mixed, with shipping lines and telecom shares losing ground while domestic-oriented issues chalked up gains.
No. 2 shipyard Hyundai Merchant Marine tumbled 4.26 percent to 19,100 won after a market consensus predicted worse earnings results for last year. Top mobile carrier SK Telecom fell 2.3 percent to 170,000 won.
In contrast, confectionery maker Orion shot up 5.63 percent to 994,000 won, with leading life insurance firm Samsung Life Insurance climbing 1.9 percent to 107,500 won.
Among blue-chip exporters, tech giant Samsung Electronics added 0.54 percent to 1,498,000 won, whereas top automaker Hyundai Motor slid 1.39 percent to 213,500 won.
The local currency ended at 1,078.30 won against the greenback, up 5.5 won from Thursday's close, largely due to foreign buying, dealers said.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasuries edged down 0.01 percentage point to 2.72 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds slipped 0.02 percentage point to 2.84 percent.