March 20, 2012 / 7:58 AM / 5 years ago

S.Korea KOSPI down, financials slip on profit-taking

By Joonhee Yu	
    SEOUL, March 20 (Reuters) - Seoul shares fell 0.24 percent
on Tuesday as investors cashed in recent gains while waiting for
clues about what might give the market some new momentum.	
    For a fifth day in a row, the Korea Composite Stock Price
Index (KOSPI) reached higher than the closely-watched
2,050 threshold during the session but failed to stay there,
ending at 2,042.15. The last close above 2,050 came on August 3.	
    Financials, which were outperformers during the latest
rally, saw the steepest declines on Tuesday as investors locked
in profits.	
    Hana Financial Group fell 1.03 percent while
Woori Finance Holdings closed 2.2 percent lower,
snapping a five-day winning streak that followed last week's
announcement of a renewed sales bid.	
    "The market was lacking a clear direction, with investors
taking a wait-and-see approach to apply the brakes on momentum
while some technical corrections were triggered," said Park
Suk-hyun, an analyst at KTB Securities.	
    Kim Se-joong, an analyst at Shinyoung Securities, said
"Distinct signals, whether it be U.S. housing data pointing to a
stable recovery or stronger indications of policy easing in
China, will be needed to get momentum going again." 	
    Defensive issues sank across the board, with food
conglomerate Orion Corp falling 3.82 percent while
biopharmaceutical front-runner Celltrion tumbled 4.2
percent.	
    Investors continued to stock up on blue-chips on positive
earnings expectations, lifting shares in Samsung Electronics
 to an all-time intraday high of 1,277,000 won
($1,140) early in the session, before easing back to close up
0.56 percent at 1,267,000 won.	
    Analysts said Apple Inc's first dividend payout
offer since 1995 and a $10 billion share repurchase plan helped
underpin overall confidence in the technology sector, including
South Korean peers which are also key suppliers of Apple
products. 	
    GS Construction shares rose 0.93 percent, adding
to gains of the past two days on hopes of new construction
orders from the Middle East.	
    SK Innovation, the parent of South Korea's
biggest refiner, gained 3.24 percent while GS Holdings
, parent of the country's third largest, climbed 3.62
percent.     	
    Aircraft-maker Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI),
saw its shares jump 6.88 percent after announcing it had won a
$1.2 billion deal to supply parts for Airbus's A320
aircraft from 2012 to 2025. 	
    A total of 535.4 million shares exchanged hands on the main
bourse. while losers outnumbered shares that gained by 524 to
302.	
    The benchmark KOSPI 200 index edged 0.22 percent
lower while the junior, KOSDAQ fell 0.79 percent.	
	
         Move on day                -0.24  percent  	
         12-month high   2,231.47   27  April 2011  	
         12-month low    1,644.11   26  Sept  2011  	
         Change on yr               +11.8  percent  	
         All-time high   2,231.47   27  April 2011  	
         All-time low      93.10    6 January 1981     	
	
 (Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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