Published : 2013-03-15 16:19
Updated : 2013-03-15 16:19
South Korean stocks closed 0.78 percent lower on Friday amid a lack of positive leads, analysts said. The local currency edged down against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed
15.63 points to 1986.50. Trading volume was low at 301.4 million shares worth 5.18 trillion won (US$4.66 billion), with gainers outnumbering decliners 461 to 355.
"Despite positive factors from abroad, shares finished lower as investors were unnerved by the weak yen and the central bank's decision to freeze key interest rates," said Bae Sung-young, an analyst at Hyundai Securities Co.
South Korea's central bank froze the key interest rate for the fifth straight month on Thursday, apparently awaiting what measures the new government will take to stimulate the slowing economy.
"Foreign investors also offloaded shares of Samsung Electronics for profit-taking despite the launch of a new smartphone model,"
South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics unveiled the Galaxy
S4 phone, the latest in its flagship Galaxy S line-up, in a New York launch event on Thursday.
Foreigners offloaded a net 582.5 billion won worth of local shares. In contrast, institutions scooped up a net 255.9 billion won, and retail investors purchased a net 316.6 billion won.
Tech shares lost ground, with market behemoth Samsung Electronics falling 2.63 percent to 1,480,000 won, and its smaller rival LG Electronics moving down 1.74 percent to 79,100 won.
Daelim Industrial, one of South Korea's largest industrial plant builders, fell 1.1 percent to 89,700 won after its chemical storage tank exploded in an industrial plant in the southern coastal city of Yeosu on Thursday.
In contrast, shipping firms gathered ground following a hike in freight charges, with Hanjin Shipping rising 2.76 percent to 11,150 won and Hyundai Merchant Marine moving up 2.01 percent to 15,200 won.
NHN, South Korea's top Internet portal operator, advanced 0.19 percent to 263,500 won as foreign investors scooped up its shares.
The local currency ended at 1,110.30 won to the dollar, down 1.30 won from Thursday's close, following improved U.S. economic data, dealers said. (Yonhap News)