Seoul shares down 0.8 pct on oil, N. Korea
SEOUL, Feb. 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks ended 0.84 percent lower Wednesday as sliding oil prices refueled concerns over the global economic slowdown while North Korea rekindled geopolitical woes, analysts said. The local currency lost sharply against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 15.93 points to end at 1,890.67. Trade volume was moderate at 403.02 million shares worth 4.74 trillion won (US$3.89 billion), with losers outpacing winners 548 to 274.
"Investors appear to flock to safer assets on renewed concerns over the global economic downturn as oil glut is feared to continue," said Bae Seong-young, an analyst at Hyundai Securities.
U.S. crude tumbled below $30 per barrel amid faded hope for a deal between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia to cut production, which dragged U.S. shares down.
"Higher chances of another North Korean provocative move would further dampen investor sentiment, though it will have a limited impact on the market if history serves as any guide," said Samsung Securities expert Oh Hyun-seok said.
North Korea has informed the International Maritime Organization that it will launch a rocket between Feb. 8 and 25. The move came a month after the communist country conducted a fourth nuclear test, fueling tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Foreigners sold a net 193.83 billion, while individuals picked up a net 122.98 billion won.
Most blue chips traded bullish, with tech shares leading the fall.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics shed 0.87 percent to 1,146,000 won and SK Hynix tumbled 3.51 percent to 27,450 won. Top automaker Hyundai Motor decreased 0.39 percent to 129,000 won, and its auto parts making unit Hyundai Mobis dipped 1.03 percent to 240,000 won.
The risks stemming from North Korea, in particular, pushed Hyundai Merchant Marine down 1.89 percent to 3,120 won, despite the group's self-rescue plan announced the previous day.
Top mobile carrier SK Telecom nosedived 3.93 percent to 208,000 won as it logged a 15.8 percent on-year decline in its net profit in 2015.
Bucking the market trend, however, top cosmetics AmorePacific soared 2.57 percent to 399,000 won after its fourth-quarter earnings jumped 77.6 percent on-year thanks to a strong performance in overseas markets.
Hyundai Securities grew 0.18 percent to 5,620 won after Hyundai Group again put the brokerage firm on sale as part of its restructuring plan. Last year, Japanese private equity firm Orix given up its bid to buy it.
The local currency ended at 1,219.3 won against the greenback, down 11.9 won from Tuesday's close and the lowest level in nearly six years.