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Seoul shares end slightly lower after rally

Jan. 5, 2011 - 18:50 By 황장진
Korean stocks finished 0.12 percent lower on Wednesday as investors sat on the sidelines following recent rallies that had set fresh record highs, analysts said. The local currency fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index shed 2.59 points to 2,082.55 after reaching a new intra-day high of 2,087.14 at one point. Trading volume was moderate at 379.1 million shares worth 8.45 trillion won ($7.5 billion) with losers outnumbering gainers 491 to 325.

“Tech and financial issues that had driven up the KOSPI underwent a correction as investors grew cautious of the KOSPI’s recent steep climb,” said Lee Jae-man, an analyst at Tong Yang Securities Co.

“Sectors that have been sluggish, however, added gains. The market still has energy for further upward momentum,” said Lee.

Technology companies led the decline, with market bellwether Samsung Electronics dipping 1.67 percent to 942,000 won.

Shares of banks also weighed on the market, with KB Financial, the parent of top lender Kookmin Bank, ending down 2.25 percent at 60,700 won.

Chemical heavyweight LG Chem, however, outperformed the market by surging 5.82 percent to 418,000 won.

Automakers also finished bullish on a court ruling that raised prospects for Hyundai Motor Group’s takeover of Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. Hyundai Motor soared 6.18 percent to 189,000 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors gained 3.27 percent to 56,900 won.

Top builder Hyundai E&C also spiked 6.67 percent to 80,000 won as analysts said the court ruling dissipated uncertainties regarding its sale.

In contrast, Hyundai Group’s flagship shipping unit Hyundai Merchant Marine sank 3.38 percent to 38,650 won.

The local currency ended at 1,126 won to the greenback, down 5 won from Tuesday’s close, as the U.S. dollar strengthened on a series of upbeat U.S. economic data reports, dealers said. 

(Yonhap News)