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Stocks decline on U.S. rate increase concerns

Nov 10,2018
Korean shares ended lower Friday as the main index was dragged down by signs of monetary tightening in the United States. The Korean won depreciated against the dollar.

The benchmark Kospi fell 6.54 points, or 0.31 percent, to close the session at 2,086.09.

Trading volume was low at 292.9 million shares worth 5.2 trillion won ($4.6 billion).

“After the U.S. central bank’s meeting, the U.S. dollar and treasury yields rose, which caused a weakening of U.S. shares,” said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities. “Such a plan would add greater volatility to the market, though any serious downturn would be unlikely.”

Foreign investors were net buyers, picking up a net 30.3 billion won worth of shares, and retail investors bought a net 228.7 billion won worth of shares. Institutional investors unloaded a net 292.2 billion won worth of shares.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics inched up 0.57 percent to 44,300 won, while SK Hynix was unchanged at 72,900 won.

Carmakers also ended mixed, with Hyundai Motor falling 0.47 percent to 105,000 won and Kia Motors adding 1.23 percent to 28,850 won.

Chemical industry leader LG Chem shed 2.24 percent to 327,500 won, while Lotte Chemical advanced 1.08 percent to 281,500 won.

Pharmaceutical shares tumbled and dragged down the index. Celltrion dropped 3.77 percent to 229,500 won, and Samsung BioLogics fell 4.29 percent to 368,000 won.

Refiners were also losers in the session as SK Innovation ended 1.72 percent down to 200,000 won, and S-Oil plunged 4.17 percent to 115,000 won.

LG Household & Health Care fell 4.80 percent to 1,110,000 won.

Meanwhile gaming companies finished the session higher, with Netmarble rising 2.16 percent to 118,500 won, and NCSoft adding 0.57 percent to 440,500 won.

The Kosdaq also declined 6.38 points, or 0.92 percent, to end the session at 687.29.

The tech and bio-heavy index was dragged down by a 0.98 percent decline in the U.S. Nasdaq Biotechnology Index overnight. Retail investors have been net buyers for five consecutive sessions.

The Korean won closed at 1,128.30 won against the dollar, up 11 won from Thursday’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds was down 0.6 basis points to 1.96 percent, and the return on 10-year bonds fell 2.4 basis points to 2.23 percent.

BY CHAE YUN-HWAN, YONHAP [chae.yunhwan@joongang.co.kr]