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NORTH KOREA: Kim Jong-il DEATH Rumors Rattle Markets

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11/08/2011 07:47 PM
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NORTH KOREA: Kim Jong-il DEATH Rumors Rattle Markets
[link to english.chosun.com]

b]Kim Jong-il Death Rumors Rattle Markets : Source: The Chosunilbo

Rumors of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's death spread through the South Korean stock market on Tuesday, driving share prices down and causing the won to plunge against the U.S. dollar. The KOSPI hovered around the 1,915 point level, similar to Monday's close, but fell steeply at around 2:20 p.m. when the rumors hit the market. It closed down 0.8 percent (15.96 points) at 1,903.14.

The won, which had been slowly strengthening, reversed direction and closed at W1,121 per dollar, down W4.1 from the previous day's close.

As the rumor spread, shares of defense-related companies surged. S&T Dynamics, which makes guns and aviation systems, closed up 6 percent at W15,900, while Speco, which makes fin stabilizers for naval destroyers, ended up 4.2 percent. Embedded systems developer MDS Tech gained 3.7 percent, and Huneed Technologies, which makes communication and security systems, 3.5 percent.

A Unification Ministry official said there was no substance to the rumors. "The North Korean media reported a public appearance by Kim just yesterday," he said. "We have detected nothing irregular." The North's official Korean Central News Agency on Monday said Kim and his son and heir apparent Jong-un visited an air force base.