South Korea’s benchmark stock index fell to a three-week low as Samsung Electronics Co. dragged down technology companies after unveiling its Galaxy S4 smartphone.
Samsung Electronics, the world’s biggest smartphone seller, sank 2.6 percent, its steepest loss in six weeks. Korea Electric Power Corp., which reported a worse-than-expected fourth-quarter loss yesterday, slid 6.3 percent. Daelim Industrial Co., a builder and chemicals maker, retreated 1.1 percent after Yonhap News reported that a blast at a chemical plant killed workers.
“Some investors appear to be in a sell-on-news mode as Galaxy S4 has been unveiled,” Lee Jin Woo, a fund manager at Seoul-based KTB Asset Management Co., which manages about $6.3 billion, said by phone. “The phone’s features are in line with what market had expected, rather than having a wow factor.”
The Kospi index fell 0.8 percent to 1,986.50 at the close in Seoul, the lowest level since Feb. 19 and the biggest loss among Asian benchmark gauges tracked by Bloomberg. The gauge retreated 1 percent this week, its second weekly drop, as the U.S. and South Korea began military exercises amid threats from North that it will scrap the 1953 armistice and as the Bank of Korea left the benchmark interest rate unchanged.
Foreign investors sold a net 592 billion won worth of shares listed on the Kospi today, according to Korea Exchange data. The benchmark measure trades at 9.2 times 12-month projected profit, compared with the MSCI Emerging Markets Index’s 10.6 times, data compiled by Bloomberg show.