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Seoul: South Korean stocks fall on weak Chinese data; chipmakers lead losses


[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index ended lower on Friday, dragged down by sharp losses in shares of chipmakers, amid global growth concerns after weak Chinese data. The won tumbled as unresolved Sino-US trade tensions rekindled concerns. South Korean bond yields also fell.

China's November retail sales grew at their weakest pace since 2003 and industrial output rose the least in nearly three years as the economy lost further momentum, heaping pressure on Beijing to defuse its trade dispute with the United States.

The Kospi ended 26.17 points, or 1.25 per cent, lower at 2,069.38. For the week, the benchmark index fell 0.3 per cent.

Shares of South Korea's chip giants Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix sagged as brokers lowered the companies' target price. Lack of CPU supply, cloud server error within and outside the country, and clients expecting price cuts hit the sector, said Pak Yu-ak, an analyst with Kiwoom Securities.

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Samsung Electronics slid as much as 3.3 per cent, hitting its lowest since stock split in May, while SK Hynix plunged as much as 6.6 per cent to lowest since June 2017.

Shares of Samsung BioLogics Co Ltd closed down 4.5 per cent after the company said on Thursday its head office has been raided by South Korean prosecutors as part of a criminal probe into alleged accounting fraud.

Samsung C&T Corp, which jointly owns 75 per cent in Samsung BioLogics with Samsung Electronics, also edged down 1.8 per cent.

The won was quoted at 1,130.8 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.65 per cent weaker than its previous close at 1,123.4. The currency fell nearly 1 per cent, posting its biggest weekly loss since Oct 5.

The Kospi is down around 15.1 per cent so far this year, and up by 3.51 per cent in the previous 30 days.