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Investors take a breather so Kospi remains flat

Dec 24,2019
Stocks closed nearly flat on Monday as investors took a breather and cashed in recent gains after the market hit an almost eight-month high last week, buoyed by progress in trade negotiations between the United States and China.

The Kospi fell 0.47 points, or 0.02 percent, to finish at 2,203.71. Trade volume was high at 494 million shares worth 4.5 trillion won ($3.86 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 495 to 342.

The index managed to stay above the psychologically significant 2,200-point level after reaching the threshold on Friday amid hopes for a U.S.-China trade deal.

Analysts said the index lost ground on Monday morning as investors cashed in part of recent gains amid the improved outlook over the deal.

“With the U.S. stock market also standing firm, investors’ sentiment here is stable,” Lee Young-gon, an analyst at Hana Financial Investment, said.

On Saturday, U.S. President Donald Trump said on his Twitter account that he had a “very good talk” with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the trade row.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also recently said that the phase-one trade deal with China was ready for signing in early January.

Foreigners remained net buyers for the fifth consecutive session, purchasing a net 26 billion won. Individuals dumped a net 319 billion won, while institutional investors bought a net 279 billion won.

Samsung Electronics closed 0.89 percent lower at 55,500 won, and chipmaker SK Hynix lost 0.42 percent at 94,600 won.

Chemical firms closed bearish, with LG Chem losing 0.48 percent at 313,000 won and cosmetics manufacturer Amorepacific falling 2.48 percent at 196,500 won.

Hyundai Motors surrendered 1.21 percent at 122,500 won and auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis lost 0.76 percent at 260,000 won.

SsangYong Motor, on the other hand, moved up 5.93 percent on reports that Indian carmaker Mahindra & Mahindra is reviewing a major investment in the South Korean unit.

The secondary Kosdaq shed 2.11 points, or 0.32 percent, to close at 647.62.

The won closed at 1,164.30 won against the dollar, up 3.70 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year bonds fell 1.2 basis points to 1.380 percent, and the return on the benchmark ten-year government bonds also declined 0.5 basis points to 1.91 percent.

BY KANG JAE-UN, YONHAP [kang.jaeeun@joongang.co.kr]