EMERGING MARKETS-Samsung Elec knocks down S. Korean stocks; banks drag Malaysia

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
EMERGING MARKETS-Samsung Elec knocks down S. Korean stocks; banks drag Malaysia
Credit: © Reuters.

* Graphic: World FX rates http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

* Asian stock markets: https://tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4

* S. Korean shares log sharpest decline in near three months

* Malaysian stocks set for third straight day of falls

* S. Korean won, Indonesian rupiah lead Asia FX lower

By Shriya Ramakrishnan

Jan 18 (Reuters) - South Korean shares fell more than 2% on Monday, dragged down by steep losses in heavyweight Samsung Electronics, after its vice chairman was sentenced to two and a half years in prison over a bribery case, while banking stocks led Malaysia lower.

Losses in South Korea's KOSPI .KS11 accelerated in afternoon trade, with the benchmark index sliding as much as 2.7%. The won KRW=KFTC weakened 0.4%.

Shares of Samsung Electronics 005930.KS slipped up to 4%, its sharpest fall in five months after the local court's ruling, which will have major ramifications for Jay Y. Lee's leadership of the tech giant as well as Korea's views toward big businesses. Electronics has risen quite sharply recently, and a major difference from the past is that retail investors' stakes in the company has risen significantly," said Lee Seung-woo, analyst at Eugene Investment & Securities.

"Shares are swinging much sharper compared to past trials because retail investors seem to be more focused on the idea of (the government's) pressure on Samsung rather than the performance and industry outlook."

Malaysian shares .KLSE slipped 1%, with the banking sector accounting for a major chunk of losses as investors bet an interest rate cut by the central bank on Wednesday could further pressure lenders' margins.

Majority of the economists polled by Reuters expect Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to cut its overnight policy rate to a record low of 1.50%, after surging coronavirus infections led the government to impose fresh lockdowns, further curbing economic activity. most other Asian central banks, which have almost exhausted their rate policies, BNM still has room to cut the policy rate further," analysts at ING said in a client note.

"The earlier the BNM cuts, the better it will be to soften the blow to the economy from the worsening pandemic."

The ringgit MYR= weakened 0.3%, tracking a drop in crude prices, one of Malaysia's top export items.

Most other Asian currencies also struggled to make headway as softening U.S. economic data and rising global coronavirus cases lifted the greenback's safe-haven appeal. The Indian rupee INR=IN and the Indonesian rupiah IDR= dipped 0.2% and 0.4%, respectively.

Philippine shares .PSI pared some of its earlier losses to trade 0.5% lower, boosted by few blue chip consumer and real estate stocks.

The benchmark index fell up to 1.1% in early trade, after the Philippines extended a ban on travellers from more than 30 countries following the first case of a more contagious COVID-19 variant in the country. Thailand's 10-year government bond yields are down 3 basis points at 1.24%

** Top losers on FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kl Index .KLSE include Genting Malaysia Bhd GENM.KL down 3.2% at 2.42 ringgit; Genting Bhd GENT.KL down 3.02% at 4.17 ringgit

** In the Philippines, top index gainers are Universal Robina Corp URC.PS up 1.47% at 158.6 peso, Aboitiz Power Corp AP.PS up 1.15% at 26.35 peso, Ayala Corp AC.PS up ​ 0.61% at 825 peso

Asia stock indexes and

currencies at 0744 GMT










+0.13 -0.47 .N225


2.91 China


-0.09 +0.63 .SSEC


3.55 India


-0.23 -0.24 .NSEI


2.40 Indonesi IDR=

-0.36 -0.14 .JKSE


6.70 a

Malaysia MYR=

-0.32 -0.69 .KLSE

-1.00 -1.01 Philippi PHP=

-0.04 -0.10 .PSI


0.89 nes



-0.41 -1.60 .KS11


4.89 Singapor SGD=

-0.18 -0.84 .STI


4.92 e



+1.73 +1.74 .TWII


5.97 Thailand THB=TH

-0.23 -0.43 .SETI



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