* Hyundai Motor down before earnings results
* KB Financial Group extend skids, Samsung Card rises
SEOUL Jan 23 Seoul shares ticked lower on
Thursday morning as solid domestic economic growth data met a
muted response from investors ahead of Hyundai Motor's earnings
report, and China factory activity data disappointed.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was
down 0.7 percent at 1,956.74 points as of 0210 GMT, on track to
snap the three-day winning streak.
"The country's economic growth met forecast to underpin
rosy outlook for this year, but the market focus is still
towards monetary policies by central banks in developed
countries, not fundamentals," said Tong Yang Securities analyst
He added that U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting next week
will factor in to shift the focus more on fundamentals.
The Bank of Korea said the economy grew a seasonally
adjusted 0.9 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous
three months as capital investment grew at the fastest pace in
nearly 2 years, meeting market expectations and boosting growth
prospects for 2014.
Factory activity in China, South Korea's biggest export
market, contracted in January for the first time in six months
as new orders declined, a preliminary private survey showed on
Offshore investors net sold 48.3 billion won ($45.3 million)
worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session, helping declining
shares to outnumber advancing shares 447 to 293.
Automaker Hyundai Motor Co fell 1.5 percent
while Kia Motors Corp edged up 0.9 percent. Hyundai
Motor is to announce its fourth quarter earnings later in the
day and Kia Motors is scheduled for Friday.
KB Financial Group Inc fell 1.9 percent as it
faces sanctions after its card business unit was involved in a
leak of customer information. Industry rival Samsung Card Co Ltd
rose 2.3 percent.
The Financial Services Commission on Wednesday announced
measures to prevent further leaks, and said it was considering
imposing fines and transaction suspensions on KB Card, Lotte
Card and Nonghyup Card.
Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd rose 2.1 percent
to its highest price level since May 2012 after 2013 earnings
data issued late Wednesday met the market expectation of 2
trillion won in total sales and 122 billion won in operating
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks was down
0.8 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.5 percent
($1 = 1067.3000 Korean won)
(Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Eric Meijer)