Monday, November 10, 2008

Hyundai Motor stock down on trade fears, Chrysler

SEOUL (Reuters) - Shares in South Korea's Hyundai Motor fell on Monday as investors worried the United States may harden its stance on car trade and on talk, denied by Hyundai, that it may target parts of money-losing Chrysler.

Hyundai, the country's 10th biggest company in market value and the world's No. 5 car maker along with affiliate Kia Motors Corp, dived as much as 8.4 percent on Monday before stabilizing a little. The shares were down 5.1 percent at 51,800 won by 0239 GMT.

Analysts said U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's focus on the importance of helping the U.S. auto industry may have spooked investors.

Obama, who has said he opposes a 2007 free-trade deal with South Korea unless it is renegotiated to grant greater access to the Asian market for U.S. automakers, said on Friday federal help for the distressed auto industry was a "high priority."

"Obama's comments on the auto industry put pressure on Hyundai," said Choi Dae-sik, an analyst at HI Investment & Securities. "Although today's fall looks excessive as we don't know what exactly Obama would do."

U.S. politicians meanwhile made fresh calls at the weekend for the Bush administration to use a recently launched $700 billion corporate bailout program to rescue General Motors Corp , Ford Motor Co and Chrysler LLC with desperately needed cash.

"Over the weekend we've had a pretty staunch show of support toward the auto industry by U.S. law makers, and this has deepened worries about where trade relations with the U.S. are headed," said Lee Sang-hyun, analyst, Hana Daetoo Securities.

The Bush administration, which recently rebuffed a request for capital from GM to help facilitate a possible merger with Chrysler, has not decided whether it will -- or can, by law -- expand the bailout initiative beyond banks and other financial services firms....Article

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