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Kospi cheers possibility of Xi-Trump summit

Feb 13,2019
Korean stocks closed slightly higher Tuesday as investors took a wait-and-see stance on ongoing Washington-Beijing trade talks. The Korean won appreciated against the dollar.

The benchmark Kospi added 9.74 points, or 0.45 percent, to finish at 2,190.47. Trading volume was moderate at 423.29 million shares worth 5.75 trillion won ($5.12 billion).

Hopes were high as recent news reports indicated U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will likely hold a summit next month.

“Global markets seesawed as investors tried to remain cautious until the end of U.S.-China talks,” Seo Sang-young, of Kiwoom Securities, said. “There was some optimistic news from Washington, which propped up the Kospi to some extent.”

Chip shares led the increase, with Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest memory chip manufacturer, rising 2.33 percent to 46,050 won and SK Hynix gaining 2.43 percent to 75,900 won.

Leading life insurer Samsung Life Insurance climbed 0.79 percent to 88,800 won and Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance went up 2.26 percent to 38,450 won.

Auto shares traded bullish. Top carmaker Hyundai Motor increased 0.78 percent to finish at 128,500 won, and auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis climbed 1.14 percent to 222,000 won.

No. 3 shipbuilder Samsung Heavy, which pulled out of a race for Daewoo Shipbuilding, advanced 2.92 percent to 8,810 won.

On the other hand, NCsoft, a leading game maker, tumbled 4.20 percent to 433,500 won despite a strong earnings report, while Netmarble fell 0.84 percent to 118,000 won.

Big-cap steel also lost ground. Top steelmaker Posco fell 0.56 percent to 265,500 won.

Bio shares ended lower. Shares of leading biosimilar manufacturer Celltrion fell 1.39 percent to close at 212,500 won and Samsung BioLogics, a biopharmaceutical affiliate of Samsung Group, lost 0.40 percent to end at 377,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq fell 2.89 points, or 0.39 percent, to end the session at 730.58.

The tech heavy index was dragged down by foreign and institutional selling of pharmaceutical shares.

The Korean won traded at 1,123.90 won against the dollar, down 0.80 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices ended lower. The yield on three-year bonds rose 1.5 basis points to 1.80 percent, and the yield on 10-year bonds rose 3.5 basis points to 1.98 percent.

BY KIM HE-YU, YONHAP [kim.heyu@joongang.co.kr]