* South Korean won hits 17-month high; yen at 2 1/2-year
* Bank of Korea cuts GDP growth outlook; China inflation
* Halla Climate gains on planned purchase of Visteon assets
By Joyce Lee and Hyunjoo Jin
SEOUL, Jan 11 Seoul shares finished lower on
Friday as the South Korean won's rise to a 17-month high
weighed on exporters, while sentiment was dampened by worries
over economic growth domestically and in China.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI)
finished down 0.5 percent at 1,996.67 points, marking a weekly
loss of 0.76 percent.
Programme selling pulled the KOSPI lower, with a net 229
billion Korean won ($216 million) worth of stocks on the main
index sold by computer-driven trading -- the biggest selling
amount in more than two months, according to Korea Exchange
Foreigners also turned into net sellers after three
consecutive sessions of buying, offloading 10.4 billion won
worth of shares on the KOSPI, according to the data.
"Sentiment has quickly soured due to the exchange rate, with
investors offloading exporters and other cyclicals," said Cho
Sung-joon, an analyst at NH Securities.
The local currency rose to a 17-month high of 1,056.1
against the dollar, tracking gains by other
risk-linked currencies after the European Central Bank said the
common currency zone's growth will gradually recover later this
In contrast, the yen slid to 2 1/2-year lows on Friday. [ID:
Auto shares lost ground on concerns that Japanese
competitors will benefit from both a weakening yen and a
Hyundai Motor Co dropped 1.7 percent while
sibling Kia Motors Corp fell 2.2 percent.
Adding to worries about slower growth, Korea's central bank
revised down its outlook for South Korea's GDP growth in 2013 to
2.8 percent from 3.2 percent.
The Bank of Korea held interest rates at 2.75 percent, in
line with expectations.
Cho added that sentiment was also hurt after China's annual
consumer inflation overshot market expectations to rise to a
seven-month high of 2.5 percent in December, dampening chances
of further policy easing by China.
Halla Climate Control Corp ended up 2.3 percent
after the company said it plans to buy the climate control
operations of parent company Visteon Corp for 439.2
billion Korean won.
STX Pan Ocean Co Ltd extended recent gains,
rising 4.4 percent after saying that its parent STX Corp
had picked two advisers for its planned sale of a
controlling stake in the shipping unit.
Move on day -0.5 percent
12-month high 2,057.28 14 March 2012
12-month low 1,769.31 25 July 2012
Change on yr 0 percent
All-time high 2,231.47 27 April 2011
All-time low 93.10 6 January 1981
($1 = 1060.3500 Korean won)
(Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Richard Pullin)