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Seoul Shares Plunge on Wall Street Losses
A financial institution in Seoul

South Korean stocks ended sharply lower on Oct. 22, 2007 as foreign and retail investors unloaded large caps such as Samsung Electronics, spooked by the previous session's plunge in U.S. equities, analysts said. The local currency fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) dropped 66.29 points, or 3.36 percent, to 1,903.81. Volume was moderate at 349.58 million shares worth 6.97 trillion won (US$7.59 billion), with losers outnumbering winners 696 to 108.

"Investor sentiment was dampened by the free fall in U.S. stocks on Friday," said Kim Jung-hyun, an analyst at Goodmorning Shinhan Securities. "In line with overall drops in Asian equities, heavy foreign selling weighed on the market."

Stocks ended sharply lower across the board, with large-cap blue chips leading the fall. Market leader Samsung Electronics fell 3.33 percent to 522,000 won, and steelmaking giant POSCO lost 3.31 percent to 584,000 won.

Massive foreign selling sent shipbuilding and carmaking large caps lower. The world's third-largest shipyard Samsung Heavy Industries plunged 7.47 percent to 47,100 won. The country's leading automaker Hyundai Motor lost 1.54 percent to 64,000 won.

However, LG.Philips LCD, the world's No. 2 liquid crystal display manufacturer, rose 1.44 percent to 42,200 won on heavy foreign buying as it swung to a profit in the third quarter.

U.S. equities tumbled Friday on the 20th anniversary of the Black Monday crash. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 2.64 percent, and the Nasdaq composite index dropped 2.65 percent.

The local currency finished at 917.00 won to the U.S. dollar, down 1.20 won from Friday's close, as offshore investors snapped up the greenback, dealers said.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, surged. The return on benchmark three-year Treasuries plunged 0.07 percentage point to 5.34 percent, and the yield on five-year government bonds also fell 0.07 percentage point to 5.41 percent.(Yonhap News)






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