* Samsung Elec down more than 3 pct at hit 10-week low
* Hyundai, Kia lose further ground on weak earnings
* Korea Exchange Bank up more than 6 pct on share swap
By Joyce Lee
SEOUL, Jan 28 South Korean shares closed at
nearly a two-month low on Monday as a weakening yen compounded
concerns about weak corporate earnings and outlooks, while large
moves in the won currency encouraged foreign investors to take
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed
down 0.4 percent at 1,939.71 points, its lowest closing since
"Automakers extended losses on concern over the weak yen and
large dent in Q4 operating profits, while techs like Samsung
Electronics fell on worries the smartphone market won't keep up
its current growth rate," said Ko Seung-hee, an analyst at SK
He added the steep move in the won-dollar exchange rate also
spurred foreign investors to take profits.
Foreign investors net sold more than 500 billion won
($465.42 million) for the second session in a row, dragging down
the index in the largest foreign selloff since Sept. 23, 2011.
The South Korean won declined by more than 1 percent
against the dollar in domestic trade on Monday, and was quoted
at 1,093.1 at the close in its biggest daily decline since
The currency had steadily strengthened against the dollar by
75.34 won, or 6.7 percent, between the start of September and
Jan. 11, driving up the price of South Korean shares.
Since then, the won has fell by 37.1 won, or 3.5 percent,
against the dollar as of Monday.
Heavyweight Samsung Electronics fell 3.2 percent
to 1.372 million won per share, its lowest closing since Nov.
"Concerns about South Korean tech firms' fundamentals has
increased, with high-end smartphone device shipments expected to
slow down this year," said Park Young-joo, an analyst at Woori
Investment & Securities.
U.S. fund manager Vanguard's decision to switch from the
MSCI index to the FTSE to track markets for its $67 billion
emerging market fund is also seen pressuring the tech
heavyweight, as it is expected to wipe 2.45 trillion won in
foreign funds from Samsung alone.
Automakers lost ground for a third session, with
Hyundai Motor down 1.2 percent while sibling Kia
Motors slid 1.5 percent in the aftermath of
weaker-than-expected earnings last week.
Among daily movers, Korea Exchange Bank (KEB)
jumped 6.3 percent after parent company Hana Financial Group Inc
announced on Monday it will seek 100 percent of
Korea Exchange Bank through a share swap.
The planned swap of 5.28 KEB shares for 1 Hana Financial
share will be completed in early April, with KEB to be delisted
by April 26.
Declining shares outnumbered winners 442 to 390. The KOSPI
200 benchmark of core stocks was down 0.6 percent,
while the junior KOSDAQ fell 0.5 percent.
Move on day -0.36 percent
12-month high 2,057.28 14 March 2012
12-month low 1,769.31 25 July 2012
Change on yr -4.5 percent
All-time high 2,231.47 27 April 2011
All-time low 93.10 6 January 1981
($1 = 1074.3000 Korean won)
(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Kim Coghill)