[THE INVESTOR] South Korean stocks finished lower on Nov. 14 as investors took to the sidelines over weak Chinese economic data and uncertainties over US tax policy. The Korean won strengthened against the greenback.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 3.71 points, or 0.15 percent, to close at 2,526.64. Trade volume was relatively light, as 283.65 million shares worth 5.67 trillion won (US$5.07 billion) changing hands, with losers outnumbering gainers 432 to 372.
Market heavyweights had a bearish day, as investors were skittish on US tax reform efforts and were also focused on Chinese data released before the market close.
China‘s retail sales rose 10 percent on-year in October and industrial output grew 6.2 percent, both of which were below market expectations.
“Investors are in a wait-and-see mode as the prospect of the US tax bill remains cloudy, which is a negative factor for offshore traders,” Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities, said.
Foreign investors sold a net 300.31 billion won worth of local stocks, while institutions and retail investors scooped up a net 140.9 billion won and 117.3 billion won, respectively.
Tech shares had a mixed day of trading. Market kingpin Samsung Electronics edged down 0.82 percent to 2,796,000 won, and SK hynix, a major chipmaker, scored 1.34 percent to 83,400 won.
Hyundai Motor, the No. 1 automaker, was steady at 160,500 won, and top chemical firm LG Chem slipped 0.51 percent to 319,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,118.1 won against the US dollar, up 2.5 won from the previous session’s close.
By Alex Lee and newswires (firstname.lastname@example.org)