SEOUL: South Korean stocks fell 0.99 percent Friday as investors joined the global selloff stemming from the disappointing stimulus measures by the European Central Bank (ECB).
The local currency gained ground sharply against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 19.67 points to 1,974.4. Trade volume was slim at 370.9 million shares worth 3.2 trillion won (US$2.77 billion), with losers far outnumbering gainers 544 to 254.
The ECB said it will extend its quantitative easing program until at least March 2017 and cut its deposit rate deeper into negative territory.
But the plan failed to satisfy the market, which had expected far greater stimulus, as the United States is on the verge of a rate hike for the first time in a decade later this month.
Major markets tumbled after the ECB announcement, with the U.S. Dow Jones Industrial Average losing 1.4 percent and the tech-savvy Nasdaq Composite Index declining 1.7 percent.
“Investors are very disappointed with the ECB. They’d thought that Europe’s sufficient economy-boosting measures were necessary to prop up the world’s largest trade bloc and get prepared for an imminent U.S. rate increase,” said Roh Jong-won, a senior analyst at Hi Investment & Securities Co.
“And the market took a hit from the 11th consecutive month drop in South Korea’s exports.”
Foreigners dumped a net 359.6 billion won worth of local shares, extending their selling streak to three straight sessions, while institutions scooped up a net 63 billion won.
Large-cap shares finished in negative territory, led by shares of tech, leisure and petrochemical firms.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics sank 1.63 percent to 1,269,000 won and Samsung SDI, its battery-making unit, lost 1.67 percent to 118,000 won.
Hotel Shilla, Samsung Group’s luxury accommodations affiliate, fell 1.19 percent to 91,200 won and Kangwon Land Inc., the state-run casino operator, slumped 3.04 percent to 38,300 won.
Petrochemical companies were among the biggest losers, with industry leader LG Chem sliding 2.06 percent to 309,000 won and Lotte Chemical dipping 2.03 percent to 241,500 won.The local currency ended at 1,156.7 won against the greenback, up 7.9 won from Thursday’s close.