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Kospi inches up as U.S., EU agree to be friends

July 27,2018
Korean stocks advanced Thursday as relaxed trade tensions between the United States and the European Union lifted investor sentiment, supported by solid corporate earnings. The Korean won appreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi added 16.03 points, or 0.71 percent, to close at 2,289.06. Trade volume was light at 6.11 trillion won ($5.45 billion).

Investor sentiment improved after U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Washington and the EU had agreed to work together to lower trade barriers.

“The U.S. and EU agreed to avert an all-out trade war after the tit-for-tat tariff threats, which helped enhance the mood in the market, but many traders remain wary over the lingering trade dispute between the U.S. and China,” said So Jae-yong, an analyst at Hana Investment & Securities.

Foreigners bought a net 123.89 billion won while institutions purchased a net 40.4 billion won worth of stocks. Retail investors sold a net 170.6 billion won.

Tech shares were among the top gainers.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics rose 1.63 percent to 46,900 won, and SK Hynix, a major chipmaker, increased 3.23 percent to 83,100 won to recoup some of the losses incurred in the previous session.

Refiners were up after U.S. crude inventories fell to their lowest point since February 2015, easing worries about global oversupply.

SK Innovation, the nation’s largest refiner, rose a solid 3.32 percent to 202,000 won and No. 3 S-Oil gained 1.75 percent to 116,500 won.

In contrast, auto shares were down as Hyundai Motor’s lackluster operating profits in the second quarter and its downbeat prospects in the third quarter dragged down investor sentiment.

Leading automaker Hyundai Motor edged down 0.38 percent to 130,000 won.

GS Engineering & Construction, a major construction company, plunged 9.47 percent to 43,000 won as investors tried to lock in recent profits after it posted record-high profits in the first half of the year.

The secondary Kosdaq also added 16.26 points, or 2.17 percent, to 765.15, buoyed by large institutional and foreign buying and a 1.2 percent incline in the U.S. Nasdaq Biotech index.

The Korean won closed at 1,119.3 won against the U.S. dollar, down 7 won from Wednesday’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended mixed. The yield on three-year bonds lost 0.8 basis points to 2.07 percent, and the return on 10-year bonds grew 0.4 basis points to 2.55 percent.


BY KIM EUN-JIN, YONHAP [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]
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