MARKETS REPORT: South Korean stocks finished almost unchanged on Thursday as investors took to the sidelines amid increased political uncertainties at home. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar – @AceFinanceNews

#AceFinanceNews – Dec.01: Stocks almost flat as Samsung hits fresh record high

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 0.27 point, or 0.01 percent, to close at 1,983.75. Trade volume was slim at 214 million shares worth 3.89 trillion won (US$3.33 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 479 to 337.

South Korea has been engulfed in a high-profile scandal that centers on allegations that a confidante of President Park Geun-hye interfered in state affairs and peddled influence.

South Korea’s opposition parties vowed on Wednesday to push ahead with their impeachment motion against President Park, although she offered to resign.

“Economic data still point to a slump in the local economy, and consumer and business confidence is being hurt by the ongoing political scandal,” said Lee Kyong-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities.

Overnight, the U.S. stock market also ended almost unchanged as investors sought to cash in recent gains. Oil prices also surged after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to its first output cut since 2008.

Samsung Electronics, the top market cap, hit a fresh record high finishing at 1,749,000 won, up 0.17 percent, on hopes over its shareholder-friendly policies. On Wednesday, it jumped 4.11 percent.

SK hynix, a major chipmaker, jumped 3.03 percent to finish at 44,200 won.

Naver, the operator of the country’s top Internet portal, dipped 4.26 percent to end at 764,000 won. AmorePacific, the country’s top cosmetics maker, shed 2.74 percent to end at 319,000 won.

Auto industry leader Hyundai Motor lost 0.75 percent to 132,000 won, while its smaller affiliate Kia Motors slipped 0.67 percent to 37,150 won.

On the back of rising oil prices, oil refiners and petrochemicals companies advanced.

SK Innovation, the country’s No. 1 refiner, gained 0.66 percent to end at 153,500 won, and LG Chem, the nation’s top chemicals firm, rose 1.32 percent to finish at 229,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,167.60 won against the U.S. dollar, down 1.5 won from the previous session’s close.

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