Seoul shares slip on U.S. fiscal concerns

Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:29am GMT

* Foreign investors offload shares for 7th session

* Hyundai Motor up near 2 pct after steady declines since Oct

By Joyce Lee

SEOUL, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Seoul shares slid on Friday as investor sentiment remained cautious on concerns over the U.S. fiscal stand-off, and Europe's return to recession for the first time since 2009.

Foreigners continued to offload South Korean stocks for the seventh consecutive session, selling a net 136.5 billion Korean won ($125.60 million) of shares over the period.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed down 0.5 percent at 1,860.83 points, extending losses after reaching its lowest closing since Aug. 3 in the previous session.

"Concern over the U.S. fiscal cliff weighed on the index before the upcoming meeting between Obama and leaders of Congress [on Friday]," said Kim Ji-hyung, an analyst at Hanyang Securities.

Investors will be watching Friday's meeting at the White House between President Barack Obama and Republican and Democratic leaders of Congress over deficit reduction for signs the two sides are moving closer.

Blue chips were mixed, with market heavyweight Samsung Electronics falling 1.8 percent.

Hyundai Motor rose 1.9 percent and sibling Kia Motors rallied 6 percent as investors snapped up shares after recent declines saw both shares fall 11 percent or more since start of October.

Shares in state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) gained 1.1 percent as South Korea unveiled a plan to secure extra power capacity and head off potential blackouts after the closure of two nuclear reactors.

Securities brokerages lost ground as a bill to bolster investment banking operations in local brokerages was stalled in a parliamentary subcommittee on Thursday, decreasing the likelihood of approval before parliament's current session ends.

Among small- and mid-cap shares, S.M. Entertainment Co extended steep declines of the last two sessions by falling 15 percent after the K-Pop record label's third-quarter operating profit fell far below market forecasts.

Decliners outnumbered gainers 585 to 241.

The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks closed down 0.5 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ slumped 2.2 percent lower.

Move on day -0.5 percent

12-month high 2,057.28 14 March 2012

12-month low 1,750.60 19 Dec 2011

Change on yr +1.9 percent

All-time high 2,231.47 27 April 2011

All-time low 93.10 6 January 1981 (Editing by Eric Meijer)

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