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Seoul stocks inch down ahead of Q1 reports

Mar 28,2019
Korean stocks fell slightly on Wednesday as investors remained cautious ahead of anticipated gloomy earnings announcements, analysts said. The won depreciated against the dollar.

The benchmark Kospi dipped 3.18 points, or 0.15 percent, to finish at 2,145.62.

Trading volume was relatively light at 358.6 million shares worth 4.43 trillion won ($3.9 billion).

Individuals bought a net 18.9-billion-won worth of stocks and foreign investors sold a net 154.9-billion-won worth of shares. Institutions bought a net 119.4 billion won of stocks.

“Investors sought profits following a huge decline earlier this week,” Lee Young-gon from Hana Financial Investment said. “But concerns over poorer-than-expected earnings forecasts are lingering in the market.”

Naver, the country’s largest portal operator, fell 2.77 percent to 123,000 won, and runner-up Kakao retreated 1.44 percent to 102,500 won.

Bio pharmaceutical firms also went south, as Celltrion sank 4.94 percent to 183,000 won and Samsung BioLogics lost 3.42 percent to 324,500 won. Hanmi Pharmaceutical surrendered 2.85 percent to 443,500 won.

Leading cosmetics firm LG Household & Health Care dropped 1.48 percent to 1,401,000 won, and Amorepacific fell 1.30 percent to 190,000 won.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem skidded 1.09 percent to 362,500 won.

On the other hand, chipmakers made a rebound despite poorer forecasts for their upcoming first-quarter earnings reports.

Samsung Electronics climbed 0.22 percent to 43,350 won.

Korean Air Lines, meanwhile, rose 2.47 percent to 33,200 won as its head Cho Yang-ho was ousted from the board of the directors.

Shares of mobile carriers stayed bullish, with No. 1 SK Telecom rising 1.00 percent to 253,000 won and its rival KT increasing 0.36 percent to 27,700 won. Shares of smaller mobile carrier LG U+ also rose 2.29 percent to 15,650 won.

Top steelmaker Posco rose 0.20 percent to 255,000 won.

The Kosdaq fell 8.36 points, or 1.13 percent, to end the session at 728.45. The tech heavy index was dragged down by foreign and institutional selling of pharmaceutical shares despite a rise in Nasdaq Composite Index overnight.

The won traded at 1,134.50 won against the dollar, up 1.10 won from the previous day’s close.

Bond prices ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds lost 4.1 basis points to 1.72 percent. The yield on 10-year bonds lost 6.0 basis points to 1.85 percent.

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