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Seoul: Stocks slump on weak earnings, falling won

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[SEOUL] South Korea's KOSPI stock index stumbled nearly 0.9 per cent on Wednesday as fragile corporate results and a weakening currency weighed on the market. The Korean won lost 0.8 per cent against the US dollar, to the lowest since July 2017, while the benchmark bond yield fell.

The Seoul stock market's main KOSPI ended down 19.46 points or 0.88 per cent to 2,201.05 points.

The index fell sharply after LG Display reported January-march net loss of 132 billion won, said Seo Sang-young, an analyst from Kiwoom Securities. Its shares closed down 6.3 per cent as the company flagged weak smartphone sales and OLED costs.

South Korea's leading steelmaker POSCO said its first-quarter operating profit slid 19 per cent from a year earlier, amid higher costs for raw materials, pushing its shares down by 1 per cent.

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Hyundai Motor bucked the trend by closing up 1.8 per cent on its better-than-expected net profit for the January-to-March quarter.

Foreigners were net buyers of 23.7 billion won worth of shares on the main board. Foreigners became net buyers just before the market closing as they shed sell-off in Samsung Electronics stocks, according to Lee Won, an analyst from Bookook Securities.

The KOSPI has risen 7.84 per cent so far this year, and rose 2.9 per cent in the previous 30 trading sessions.

 

REUTERS