SEOUL, July 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks finished lower Friday, taking a cue from overnight falls on Wall Street, although Samsung Electronics, the top cap here, delivered a record quarterly high for the second quarter, analysts said. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 7.94 points, or 0.33 percent, to close at 2,379.87.
Trade volume was moderate at 303 million shares worth 4.97 trillion won (US$4.31 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 485 to 307.
The local stock market opened lower, as the U.S. stock market suffered a loss on Thursday (local time) on weaker-than-expected job data and investors were tempted to cash in part of their recent gains amid geopolitical tension.
Samsung said earlier in the day its second-quarter operating profit is estimated to have shot up nearly 72 percent on-year to a record-high quarterly level of 14 trillion won, apparently helped by the robust performance of its chip business.
It marks the highest quarterly operating profit ever posted by the world's leading memory chip and smartphone manufacturer. The previous record was set in the third quarter of 2013, when Samsung's operating profit hit 10.1 trillion won.
"Samsung's second-quarter estimates have been baked into the market for the past weeks, and investors remained cautious amid increased tension on the Korean Peninsula," said Kim Sung-hwan, an analyst at Bookook Securities.
Market heavyweights traded mixed.
Samsung actually edged down 0.42 percent to end at 2,393,000 won, and SK hynix, a major chipmaker, dropped 2.2 percent to 66,600 won.
LG Electronics, the second-largest home appliance maker, surrendered 4.15 percent to end at 73,900 won, after reporting an estimated 664 billion won in operating income for the second quarter.
Automakers continued to slide.
Hyundai Motor, the No. 1 automaker, fell 2.57 percent to end at 151,500 won amid concerns that its sales in China remained in a slump over a diplomatic row between Beijing and Seoul over the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system.
AmorePacific, the nation's leading cosmetics maker, slumped 2.54 percent to end at 288,000 won.
In contrast, POSCO, the top steelmaker, gained 0.68 percent to end at 296,000 won, and the state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. gained 0.95 percent to finish at 42,500 won.
Naver, the operator of the country's top Internet portal, advanced 1.58 percent to 838,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,154.30 won against the U.S. dollar, up 3.1 won from the previous session's close.
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