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Kospi continues to fall as trade tensions worsen

Nov 22,2019
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Stocks dropped more than 1 percent Thursday amid fresh worries about a further delay in a U.S.-China trade deal. The Korean won sharply fell against the dollar.

The benchmark Kospi plunged 28.72 points, or 1.35 percent, to finish at 2,096.60, the lowest level since Oct. 2, extending its decline to a fourth session. Trading volume was heavy at 571.79 million shares worth 5.4 trillion won ($5 billion), with losers overwhelming winners 748 to 125.

Risk-off sentiment persisted on concerns that the United States and China may fail to reach a trade deal before new and more damaging tariffs on Chinese imports take effect Dec. 15.

The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday passed two bills to back protesters in Hong Kong, spooking investors over the possible blow to the ongoing trade talks.

“The local stock market fell on rising possibilities that the Phase 1 trade deal between the United States and China may not be reached within this year,” Choi Yoo-june, an analyst at Shinhan Investment, said. “The Kospi fell below 2,100 points as its earlier gains reflected hopes for a trade deal sometime soon.”

Foreigners remained net sellers for the 11th consecutive day, dumping a net 570.8 billion won. Institutional and retail investors scooped up a net 264.3 billion won and 253.3 billion won, respectively.

Tech and bio shares took the heaviest losses.

Samsung Electronics lost 1.92 percent to 51,000 won, and chipmaker SK Hynix skidded 2.18 percent to 80,900 won.

Samsung BioLogics, Samsung’s health care unit, retreated 2.13 percent to 391,000 won, and major pharmaceutical firm Celltrion dipped 4.07 percent to 177,000 won.

Hyundai Motor remained flat at 124,500 won while its sister company Kia Motors edged down 0.11 percent to 43,700 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis shed 1.17 percent to 253,000 won.

Chemical firm LG Chem shed 1.45 percent to 305,000 won.

Portal operator Naver inched up 0.29 percent to close at 170,000 while Kakao lost 1.60 percent at 154,000.

The secondary Kosdaq dropped 13.88 points, or 2.41 percent, to close at 635.99.

Won closed at 1,178.1 won against the dollar, up 8 won from Wednesday’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, were mixed. The yield on three-year bonds added 0.8 basis points to 1.459 percent, and the yield on 10-year bonds dropped 3.6 basis points to 1.74 percent.

BY KIM BYUNG-WOOK, YONHAP [kim.byungwook@joongang.co.kr]