S Korean stocks end lower on earnings jitters

08:12, January 11, 2011      

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South Korean stocks closed lower Monday as investors remained cautious amid jitters over fourth- quarter corporate earnings and the expiry of options on Dec. 13, local analysts said.

According to the Korea Exchange (KRX), the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 5.39 points, or 0.26 percent, to close at 2,080.81. The key index started weaker on a disappointing U.S. employment report on Friday and fell as low as 2,070 points in the afternoon but later made a recovery following net buying of institutions. Foreigners were net sellers while institutions and retailers served as net buyers.

Techs led the fall. Bellwether Samsung Electronics was down 0.4 percent on profit-taking and chip giant Hynix Semiconductor shed 3. 1 percent. LG Display was down 1.9 percent.

Large-cap banks were also lowered on profit-taking with KB Financial Group off 2.0 percent, Shinhan Financial Group down 2.5 percent and Woori Finance Holdings declining 1.7 percent.

Auto issues cushioned the key index's losses with Kia Motors up 2.4 percent on prospects of upbeat global sales.

The junior bourse KOSDAQ continued its upward trend for the eighth consecutive day, climbing 3.14 points, or 0.59 percent, to close at 533.98.

The local currency ended at 1,124.5 won to the U.S. dollar, down 2.2 won from Friday's close, as China's lower-than-expected December trade surplus stoked worries on its slowing economic growth, prompting investors to snap up the U.S. dollar, according to dealers.

Bond prices closed slightly higher, with the yield on three- year Treasury notes falling 0.02 percentage point to 3.57 percent.

Source: Xinhua
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