July 25, 2014 / 2:41 AM / in 4 years

S.Korea stocks inch up on steady foreign inflows, won flat

* KOSPI edges higher, set for highest weekly close of yr
    * Won stays flat, poised to mark weekly gain
    * Investors await more corporate earnings next week

    SEOUL, July 25 (Reuters) - South Korean shares edged up on
Friday as foreign investors were unruffled by weak earnings
reports, while the won was little changed.
    "Local shares are expected to maintain small but firm gains
next week as offshore investors remain net buyers, and the
market will rebound rather than suffer losses from any further
corporate earnings," said Ko Seung-hee, an analyst at SK
    The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up
0.28 percent at 2,032.23 points as of 0215 GMT. 
    The index was poised for its highest weekly close of the
    Several companies on Thursday including Hyundai Motor and
POSCO reported lower-than-expected second-quarter profits,
blaming the firm won for weakening their price competitiveness
and hurting exports.
    Still, steelmaker POSCO rose 1.4 percent despite
reporting a 20 percent fall in second-quarter operating profit
after the market close on Thursday. 
    Hyundai Mobis Co Ltd, a unit of Hyundai Motor
Co, was up 0.4 percent as it plans to invest nearly $200 million
in a new factory in the Czech Republic to produce headlights,
reflecting Hyundai Motor's hopes of adding production capacity
overseas after suffering its weakest quarterly profit in 5
    Offshore investors and institutions bought a net 23 billion
won ($22.35 million) and a net 66 billion won ($64.13 million)
worth of KOSPI shares, while retail investors offloaded a net 92
billion won ($89.39 million), balancing the board. 
    Foreign investors were headed for a ninth consecutive net
buying session, after picking up a net total of 1.5 trillion won
($1.46 billion) worth of shares in the past 8 sessions.
    In the local currency market, the won was nearly
flat, quoted at 1,029.5 as of 0215 GMT, down 0.09 percent from
Thursday's close of 1,028.6.
    The economy logged its slowest quarterly growth in more than
a year in the second quarter, the central bank reported on
Thursday, mainly due to weak private consumption, which fell by
the most in nearly three years.
    The weaker-than-expected GDP data heightened expectations
for an interest rate cut as soon as the central bank's next
month's policy meeting on Aug. 14.
    "Unless chances of a 50bp rate cut increase, the won is
unlikely to break the previous low at 1,036 points, amid steady
foreign inflows and strengthening of other Asian currencies,"
said Son Eun-jeong, an analyst at Woori Futures.
    September futures on three-year treasury bonds edged
down 0.01 percent to 107.00. 
                       0215 GMT    Prev close
 Dollar/won            1,029.5       1,028.6
 Yen/won           10.1100/189       10.1066
 *KTB futures           107.00        107.01
 KOSPI                2,032.23      2,026.62
 * Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds
($1 = 1029.2000 Korean Won)

 (Reporting by Lydia Lim; Editing by Kim Coghill)
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