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Kospi’s losing streak hits fourth day on jitters

July 30,2019
Shares extended their losses to a fourth day to fall to a two-month low Monday as investor sentiment was spooked by growing uncertainties, such as a trade row with Japan and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s rate-setting meeting this week. The won gained ground against the dollar.

The benchmark Kospi dropped 36.78 points, or 1.78 percent, to 2,029.48. Trading volume was high at 596 million shares worth 4.62 trillion won ($3.9 billion), with losers far outpacing winners 798 to 74.

The index marked the lowest level since May 29, when the comparable figure was 2,023.32 points.

Investors remained concerned over the possible exclusion of Korea from Japan’s so-called “white-list” of trusted importers. The Japanese cabinet is widely expected to deliver a final decision on the move Friday, potentially affecting some 1,000 industrial items.

Japan already curbed exports of three industrial materials vital to the semiconductor and display industries of Korea.

“Investors are also locking in a recent rally in chip-making stocks,” said Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics nosedived 2.23 percent to 46,100 won, with No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix also losing 3.51 percent to 77,000 won. LG Electronics remained unchanged at 68,600 won.

Automakers finished bearish as well, with Hyundai Motor moving down 1.92 percent to 128,000 won and its sister company Kia Motors shedding 1.72 percent to 42,850 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis slipped 1.22 percent to 242,500 won.

Chemical shares were among major losers. Top oil refiner SK Innovation retreated 2.31 percent to 169,000 won, and S-Oil shed 1.4 percent to 91,700 won. LG Chem remained unchanged at 333,000 won.

Top pharmaceutical firm Celltrion plunged 3.24 percent to 179,000 won, and Samsung BioLogics lost 0.91 percent to 273,000 won. Hanmi Pharmaceutical dropped 1.88 percent to 286,500 won.

The secondary Kosdaq fell 25.81 points, or 4 percent, to close at 618.78. The index sharply declined as investors mass offloaded tech stocks despite seeing Nasdaq shares rise 1.1 percent over the weekend.

The local currency closed at 1,183.50 won against the dollar, down 1.30 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds lost 0.2 basis points to 1.306 percent, and the return on 10-year bonds fell 1.4 basis points to 1.412 percent.

BY KO JUN-TAE, YONHAP [ko.juntae@joongang.co.kr]