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Stocks decline 1% on first trading day of 2020

Jan 03,2020
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Stocks dropped more than 1 percent Thursday in the first trading session of the New Year as investors continued to cash in gains from a recent rally. The won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The Kospi dropped 22.50 points, or 1.02 percent, to end at 2,010.

Trade volume was moderate at 488 million shares worth 4.58 trillion won ($3.9 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 425 to 423.

Analysts said investors went for profit-taking after the index jumped to its highest level in nearly eight months last month by surpassing the 2,200-point mark on the back of progress toward a U.S.-China trade deal.

“Investors sold some stocks and there apparently was no momentum out there to push the market forward,” Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities, said.

Foreigners sold a net 4.2 billion won worth of local stocks, and institutional investors offloaded a net 545 billion won worth of shares.

Individual investors scooped up a net 529 billion won on the Seoul bourse.

Most big-name shares were in negative territory.

Samsung Electronics moved down 1.08 percent to 55,200 won, and its rival LG Electronics shed 1.53 percent to 71,000 won.

SK Hynix rose 0.64 percent to 94,700 won.

Auto shares were weak as Hyundai Motor fell 2.07 percent to 118,000 won, while Kia Motors plunged 4.06 percent to 42,500 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis lost 3.32 percent to 247,500 won.

Bio shares were also weak, as pharmaceutical firm Celltrion dipped 0.55 percent to 180,000 won, while Samsung BioLogics lost 1.04 percent to 428,500 won.

Airline shares were mixed. Korean Air shed 2.28 percent to close at 27,850 won while Asiana Airlines inched up 1.67 percent to 5.490 won. Jeju Air inched up by 0.93 percent to a close at 27,050 won.

Cosmetic shares were on a winning streak as Amorepacific moved up 3.75 percent to 207,500 won and LG Household & Healthcare inched up 0.4 percent to 1,266,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq inched up by 4.19 points, or 0.63 percent, to close at 674.02.

The won closed at 1,158.10 won against the U.S. dollar, up 1.70 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year bonds stayed flat at 1.327 percent, and the return on the benchmark 10-year government bonds increased 3.7 basis points to 1.91 percent.

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