Seoul shares down 1 pct on China woes
SEOUL, Feb. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks snapped a four-day winning streak on Tuesday to end 0.97 percent lower as weak economic data in China and falling oil prices fueled a risk-averse sentiment among investors, analysts said. The local currency lost against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 18.76 points to end at 1,906,96. Trade volume was moderate at 407.06 million shares worth 4.55 trillion won (US$3.77 billion), with losers beating winners 496 to 315.
Crude prices fell on Tuesday after China's purchasing managers index dropped to a three-year low in January.
Analysts said institutions turned to net sellers to lock in profits from recent gains ahead of major events in advanced economies, including labor data in the United States.
"Local institutions are on a selling mode as low oil prices are expected to weigh down the market in the coming month," Kim Ye-eun, an analyst at LIG Investment & Securities. "As the Lunar New Year's holidays begin next week, investors are rebalancing their portfolio ahead of major economic events slated during the holiday season."
Foreigners and institutions each sold a net 52.52 billion and a net 33.23 billion, while individuals bought a net 27.25 billion won.
Cosmetics shares sank on concerns of a lack of growth momentum in China, their top export destination.
AmorePacific, the nation's No. 1 cosmetics maker, tumbled 5.47 percent to 389,000 won, although it posted robust fourth-quarter earnings thanks to strong sales in China. Its smaller rival LG Household & Health Care dipped 5.06 percent to 975,000 won.
Automakers were bearish after posting lackluster January car sales the previous day.
Top automaker Hyundai Motor shed 2.26 percent to 129,500 won, and its sister company Kia Motors went down 3.03 percent to 43,150 won. Hyundai Mobis, an auto parts making unit, fell 3.39 percent to 24,250 won.
The local currency ended at 1,207.4 won against the greenback, down 6.9 won from Monday's close.