SEOUL, April 16 -- South Korean shares ended almost unchanged Wednesday as evaluation over China's first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) was mixed. Economic growth of the world's No. 2 economy was better than expected, but it slowed down from the prior quarter.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) edged down 0.06 points to close at 1,992.21. Trading volume stood at 224. 33 million shares worth 3.23 trillion won (3.11 billion U.S. dollars).
The first-quarter GDP of China, South Korea's largest trading partner, grew 7.4 percent from a year earlier, beating market expectations for a 7.3 percent increase. But, it was down from a 7. 7 percent expansion in the prior quarter.
Foreign and retail investors bought stocks worth 44 billion won and 55.1 billion won respectively amid the better-than-expected GDP data from China.
Institutional investors, however, sold stocks worth 95.8 billion won as the positive GDP data reduced expectations for fiscal and monetary stimulus in China.
Large-cap shares ended mixed. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 0.7 percent, and top automaker Hyundai Motor advanced 1.7 percent. The nation's biggest web search engine NAVER climbed 2.2 percent.
The country's No. 1 steelmaker POSCO dropped 3 percent as prosecutors searched one of its affiliates and seized documents from the affiliate's headquarters for alleged illegal transaction of steel products. Top life insurer Samsung Life Insurance declined 1.6 percent, and the No. 1 wireless carrier SK Telecom slid 1.5 percent.
The South Korean currency finished at 1,037.7 won against the greenback, up 3.2 won from Tuesday's close.
Bond prices ended mixed. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes rose 0.02 percentage point to 2.89 percent, but the return on the benchmark 10-year government bonds closed unchanged at 3.54 percent.