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Shares decline as foreigners sell for a 19th day

Dec 04,2019
Shares closed lower Tuesday on revived pessimism over U.S.-China trade. The won fell against the dollar.

The benchmark Kospi fell 7.85 points, or 0.38 percent, to close at 2,084.07. Trading volume was moderate at 436 million shares worth 4.04 trillion won ($3.4 billion), with losers outnumbering winners 520 to 307.

The main index opened lower, tracking losses on Wall Street, as China said Monday it will suspend U.S. military ship and aircraft visits to Hong Kong in retaliation for passage of a U.S. law supporting protesters in the semi-autonomous territory, analysts said.

“Investors have stuck to hopes of a mini deal between Washington and Beijing by Dec. 15, when the United States is scheduled to impose tariffs on $160 billion worth of Chinese products. But the recent flare-up of political unrest in Hong Kong could affect that progress,” NH Securities analyst Noh Dong-kil said.

Moreover, U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday slapped higher tariffs on steel goods from Brazil and Argentina, while proposing new levies on France.

“If the United States imposes the planned tariffs on Chinese goods in mid-December, Asian stock markets will be hit further due to declines in their trade with the two major partners,” Noh said.

Institutions and individuals bought a combined 244 billion won worth of stocks, keeping the Kospi from falling further.

The foreign selling binge continued for a 19th straight session, with a net 271 billion won being sold on Tuesday. Tech, auto and steel stocks led decliners.

Samsung Electronics fell 1 percent to 49,900 won, chipmaker SK Hynix declined 2.2 percent to 78,700 won, and Posco was down 0.4 percent to 231,000 won.

Among gainers, state-run utility Korea Electric Power rose 0.9 percent to 28,500 won, the country’s budget carrier Jeju Air climbed 0.8 percent to 24,250 won, and Amorepacific was up 0.8 percent to 194,000 won.

Hyundai Motor remained flat at 121,500 won, while its smaller affiliate Kia Motors edged up 0.82 percent to 43,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq slipped 4.92 points to close at 629.58.

The won closed at 1,187.20 won per dollar, up 4.10 won.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasuries rose 3.5 basis points to 1.460 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond climbed 4.0 basis points to 1.82 percent.

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