Seoul shares end lower over US shut­down

The Korea Times - - BUSINESS -

Korean stocks fin­ished lower Mon­day as con­cerns over the pro­tracted U.S. gov­ern­ment shut­down and signs of China’s eco­nomic slow­down hurt in­vestor sen­ti­ment here, ex­perts said. The South Korean won weak­ened against the U.S. dol­lar.

The bench­mark Ko­rea Com­pos­ite Stock Price In­dex (KOSPI) lost 11.05 points, or 0.53 per­cent, to 2.064.52. Trad­ing vol­ume was mod­er­ate at 427.92 mil­lion shares worth 4.87 tril­lion won ($4.34 bil­lion), with gain­ers out­num­ber­ing losers 420 to 412.

The in­dex opened lower and had ex­tended losses on heavy sell­ing by in­sti­tu­tions that off­loaded lo­cal shares worth 178.8 bil­lion won.

But re­tail and off­shore in­vestors picked up shares worth 42.5 bil­lion won and 95.6 bil­lion won, re­spec­tively, lim­it­ing a fur­ther drop.

“Fears have risen over po­ten­tial im­pacts of the on­go­ing shut­down of the U.S. gov­ern­ment not only on the Amer­i­can but on the global econ­omy as well,” said Seo Sang-young, an ex­pert at Ki­woom Se­cu­ri­ties.

The U.S. has closed part of its fed­eral agen­cies since Dec. 21 (Wash­ing­ton time), mark­ing the long­est-ever shut­down in its his­tory.

Ac­cord­ing to an es­ti­mate by S&P Global Rat­ings, the U.S. econ­omy had lost $3.6 bil­lion by last Fri­day due to the tem­po­rary halt.

“Amid un­cer­tain­ties over Bri­tain’s vote on its pos­si­ble with­drawal from the Euro­pean Union, in­vestors also got dis­ap­point­ing data on China’s ex­ports,” he added.

China’s ex­ports fell 4.4 per­cent year-on-year in De­cem­ber, mark­ing the deep­est de­crease in two years.

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