Seoul shares slip to 2-month low as won drags down carmakers

Wed Feb 6, 2013 1:58am EST

Related Topics

* Hyundai, Kia fall 2 pct on stronger won

* SK Hynix and LG Display up more than 3 pct

* Telecoms outperform on defensive plays

By Somang Yang

SEOUL, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Seoul shares dipped to a two-month low on Wednesday in the lightest trading volume so far this year as automakers remained under pressure from the strength of the won, overshadowing gains in technology stocks.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed down 0.1 percent at 1,936.19 points, falling for a fifth straight session. Some 345 million shares changed hands on the main board, the lowest since Dec. 28.

"Seoul shares oscillated in a narrow range today as there was little momentum either way," said Park Seok-hyun, an analyst at KTB Securities. "This will continue until the won-yen exchange rate stabilises."

The won rose 22.8 percent against the yen last year and is up another 5.6 percent so far in 2013, helping the price competitiveness of Japanese exporters.

The yen is expected to weaken further following news that the governor of Japan's central bank will step down earlier than anticipated, paving the way for a successor who will aggressively ease monetary policy.

Hyundai Motor fell 2 percent and Kia Motors lost 2.1 percent.

But SK Hynix and LG Display, which supply components used in smartphones, rebounded on bargain hunting after recent falls. SK Hynix gained 3.4 percent on Wednesday and LG Display added 3.3 percent.

Telecommunications companies also benefited as investors sought safe bets. The communications subindex, which includes South Korea's three telecom service providers - SK Telecom, LG Uplus and KT - rose 2.8 percent.

Advancing shares outnumbered decliners 464 to 339.

Foreign investors sold a net 89 billion Korean ($81.9 million) worth of KOSPI shares, weighing on the main board.

The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks closed down 0.2 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.9 percent higher.

Move on day -0.1 percent

12-month high 2,057.28 14 March 2012

12-month low 1,769.31 25 July 2012

Change on yr -3.05 percent

All-time high 2,231.47 27 April 2011

All-time low 93.10 6 January 1981 ($1 = 1087.0500 Korean won) (Editing by Chris Gallagher)