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South Korean stocks tumble on Greece worries, KOSPI slips 0.6%

South Korean stocks tumble on Greece worries, KOSPI slips 0.6%

SEOUL: South Korean stocks dipped on Tuesday, the last trading day of the year for local stocks, while political doubt in debt-loaded Greece dampened shareholders’ appetite for riskier property.
Greece is set to hold snap elections after Prime Minister Antonis Samaras failed to get sufficient votes for his presidential nominee, possibly opening the way for the anti-austerity Syriza party to take power.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was down 0.6 percent at 1,915.47 points as of 0210 GMT, on track for a 4.8 percent loss for the year.
Heading into the new year, the KOSPI is expected to gain more than 10 percent en route to a four-year peak by the end of 2015 as major central banks outside the United States gear up to pump more liquidity into financial markets.
While the US Federal Reserve’s shift towards tight money policy remained a key risk, analysts say the Fed’s slow and prudent approach will absorb much of the shock on emerging market assets.
“The Federal Reserve’s altered policy statement was its strongest indication of interest rate normalization yet, but it also brought relief to the market in also making clearer that a rate move is unlikely before April at least,” said Lee Chul-hee, an economist at Yuanta Securities Korea.
Airlines and transport counters bucked the wider trend as slumping fuel prices were expected to boost their bottom lines. Leading gains, Asiana Airlines jumped 8 percent.
The South Korean won edged lower against the dollar but trade was thin as many investors have already closed their positions ahead of year-end.
The currency was quoted at 1,099.0 to the dollar as of 0210 GMT, compared to 1,097.8 seen at Monday’s close.