Hyundai Falls With Korean Auto Stocks as Won Rises: Seoul Mover

Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp., which forecast their weakest sales growth in seven years, fell in Seoul trading on speculation a strengthening won will weigh on profits.

Hyundai Motor dropped 4.6 percent to close at 206,000 won on the Korea Exchange, its steepest decline since Nov. 5. Affiliate Kia lost 3 percent to 54,600 won. Eight out of the 10 worst performers on the MSCI Emerging Markets Index today were South Korean auto-related companies.

Hyundai and Kia are forecasting combined sales to rise 4.1 percent to 7.41 million vehicles in 2013, Chung Mong Koo, chairman of both carmakers, told employees in Seoul yesterday. That’s the lowest growth since 2006. The strengthening won, which traded near a 16-month high today, undermines exporters because it cuts the value of repatriated earnings.

“Concerns about the appreciating won are hurting sentiment toward auto stocks,” Park In Woo, an analyst at LIG Investment & Securities Co., said by phone today. “Foreign investors also appear to be disappointed with the companies’ conservative 2013 outlook.”

Hyundai Mobis Co., South Korea’s biggest auto-parts maker, sank 5.4 percent, Hyundai Wia Corp. fell 3.9 percent and Hyundai Glovis Co., the logistics unit of Hyundai Motor Group, lost 6.6 percent. Hankook Tire Co. slumped 6.1 percent.

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