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Seoul stocks flat ahead of Korea-U.S. summit

Apr 12,2019
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Shares ended nearly flat Thursday as investors digested a slew of economic events amid mixed prospects for an upcoming summit between Korea and the United States. The won fell against the dollar.

The benchmark Kospi ticked down 0.05 points to close at 2,224.44. Trading volume was moderate at 395 million shares worth 5.77 trillion won ($5.1 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 557 to 256.

Investors were keen on South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s upcoming meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump later in the day, which is expected to focus on ways to bring North Korea back to the dialogue table.

Foreigners remained net buyers as the recently released minutes of a policy meeting of the Federal Reserve hinted at a dovish monetary policy this year.

The market also embraced lingering uncertainty in Europe after European Union leaders agreed to extend the date of Britain’s departure from the bloc to the end of October.

“The index started on hopes for eased global trade tension and the Federal Reserve’s dovish tone on the monetary policy,” said Yoon Jung-sun, an analyst at KB Investment & Securities.

“But it lacked growth momentum amid downbeat corporate earnings prospects and lingering uncertainties in the global economy.”

Foreign investors bought a net 280.4 billion won worth of stocks to boost the index. Institutions and retail investors dumped 159.1 billion won and 110.7 billion won worth of stocks, respectively.

Tech shares retreated. Top market cap Samsung Electronics skidded 0.96 percent to 46,250 won, and memory chip maker SK Hynix inched down 0.25 percent to 78,400 won.

Bio shares rose. Pharmaceutical giant Celltrion added 2.43 percent to 210,500 won, and Samsung BioLogics rose 0.41 percent to 365,000 won.

Korean Air picked up 0.46 percent to 33,100 won on hopes for corporate restructuring. Asiana Airlines skyrocketed 29.75 percent to 15,700 won after its parent company Kumho Asiana Group agreed to sell its flagship unit if it fails to implement a restructuring plan.

The secondary Kosdaq rose 6.34 points, or 0.83 percent, to close at 766.49.

The won closed at 1,139.4 won against the dollar, up 0.8 won from Wednesday’s close.

Bond prices ended mixed. The yield on three-year bonds gained 0.1 basis points to 1.732 percent, but the return on 10-year bonds lost 0.4 basis points to 1.867 percent.

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