* Foreign selling continues for fifth day as Cyprus crisis deepens
* Tech stocks lag; Samsung Elec down 1 pct
* LG Display drops 3.9 pct on inventory risk
By Somang Yang
SEOUL, March 20 (Reuters) - South Korean shares fell to a one-month low on Wednesday with foreigners selling for the fifth day in a row as the banking crisis in Cyprus deepened, while losses widened toward the close amid reports of server outages at major broadcasters and a bank.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 1 percent to close at 1,959.41 points, levels last seen on Feb. 12.
“Foreigners are continuing to sell amidst uncertainty over Cyprus. The upcoming earnings season, for which expectations are low, is also adding to the burden,” says Bae Sung-young, an analyst at Hyundai Securities.
On Wednesday, foreigners sold a net 381 billion won ($341.78 million) worth of KOSPI shares, extending the selling spree to a fifth day.
Asian equities lost further ground after Cyprus’s parliament rejected a proposed tax on bank deposits as a condition for a bailout, pushing the Mediterranean island a step closer to the brink of financial collapse.
Stocks widened their losses in the final minutes as South Korean police investigated network outages at the country’s major broadcasters and a large bank on Wednesday. A major network services provider alleged that its system was hacked.
Servers at television networks YTN, MBC and KBS were affected as well as Shinhan Bank and Nonghyup, two major banks, the police and government said, without commenting on the possible cause for the problems.
Tech stocks underperformed, accounting for 0.3 percent of the index’s loss, with market bellwether Samsung Electronics slipping 1 percent.
Apple-supplier LG Display fell 3.9 percent after brokerage KDB Daewoo warned that rising panel inventories posed a risk in the latter part of the year.
“There is some inventory risk, but most of today’s fall is on profit-taking as the stock made some sharp gains. LG Display’s first-quarter earnings are shaping up to be higher than expected,” said Jeff Kang, an analyst at Daishin Securities.
Chemicals joined the laggards, with the sector sub-index falling 1.1 percent.
“Hopes that demand for petrochemicals would increase after the Lunar New Year have been dashed. It looks as though first-quarter results will be as lacklustre as those seen in the latter part of 2012,” said Choi Ji-hwan at NH Investment & Securities.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks closed down 1.1 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ edged 0.7 percent lower.
Move on day -0.97 percent
12-month high 2,057.28 14 March 2012
12-month low 1,769.31 25 July 2012
Change on yr -1.89 percent
All-time high 2,231.47 27 April 2011
All-time low 93.10 6 January 1981 ($1 = 1114.7500 Korean won) (Additional reporting by Seongwon Chang; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)