* KOSPI at nearly 3-week low
* Foreign selling largest since Nov. 28
* Suppliers lose ground on report Apple slashing parts orders
By Hyunjoo Jin
SEOUL, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Seoul shares finished down on Tuesday, with foreign investors dumping the most stocks in nearly seven weeks, while jitters about demand for Apple Inc’s iPhone drove parts suppliers lower.
Reversing gains made in morning trade, the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) finished down 1.2 percent at 1,983.74 points, its lowest closing level since Dec. 26.
“Investors are taking profits on the technology sector, which rallied for the past couple of months, while snapping up auto shares which have been lacklustre,” said Kim Soo-young, an analyst at KB Investment & Securities.
Foreign investors offloaded a net 233 billion Korean won ($220.61 million) worth of shares on the KOSPI, the largest amount since Nov. 28, Korea Exchange data showed.
Apple has asked Japan Display, Sharp and LG Display Co Ltd to roughly halve supplies of LCD panels from an initial plan for about 65 million screens in January-March, the Nikkei business daily cited people familiar with the situation as saying. The report was also matched by the Wall Street Journal.
The reports fanned fears about the smartphone industry as a whole. Samsung Electronics, a chip and display supplier for Apple as well as a smartphone rival, ended down 2.6 percent, while LG Display, a key panel provider to Apple, fell 3.5 percent and chip maker SK Hynix slid 3.7 percent.
Smaller component makers also suffered losses: Interflex dived 6.9 percent and E-Litecom slumped 3.6 percent.
Telecom shares, seen as defensive stocks because of their stable dividends, extended gains on earnings expectations. SK Telecom, South Korea’s top mobile carrier and third-placed LG Uplus both rose 2.8 percent, respectively.
Move on day -1.16 percent
12-month high 2,057.28 14 March 2012
12-month low 1,769.31 25 July 2012
Change on yr -0.67 percent
All-time high 2,231.47 27 April 2011