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Beijing’s bans take toll on Seoul stocks

Mar 04,2017
Seoul’s main bourse ended lower on Friday, pushed down by negative investor sentiment amid ongoing tension between Korea and China over the deployment of the U.S. antimissile system known as Thaad.

The benchmark Kospi dropped 23.90 points, or 1.14 percent, to close at 2,078.75 on Friday. It was the first time in 12 days that the index fell below 2,080.

While retail investors net bought shares worth 106.3 billion won ($91.7 million), foreigners and institutional investors each offloaded shares worth 31.8 billion and 125 billion won.

The market was jittery as Beijing banned trips to Korea in protest over the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system.

Also, overnight losses on Wall Street, triggered by growing speculation over a March interest rate increase, helped dampen sentiment.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics inched down 0.25 percent on Friday to close at 1,981,000 won. Global chipmaker SK Hynix retreated 1.26 percent to 47,100 won. Portal giant Naver shed 0.74 percent to 809,000 won. Hyundai Motor plunged 4.38 percent while its affiliate auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis sank 3.59 percent to 241,500 won.

AmorePacific, a cosmetic company that receives a large chunk of sales from Chinese consumers, plummeted 12.67 percent to 251,500 won.

SK Telecom, however, added 1.53 percent to 233,000 won and tobacco and ginseng producer KT&G nudged up 0.99 percent to 102,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq fell 8.2 points, or 1.35 percent, to close at 600.73, the lowest since December.

While pharmaceutical company Celltrion remained unchanged, Medytox shed 1.09 percent to 408,100 won. Paradise, a company that runs casinos exclusively for foreigners in Korea, plunged 13.27 percent to 13,400 won.The Korean won closed at 1,156.1 won against the greenback on Friday, continuing to lose ground against the U.S. dollar as it went down 14.5 won.

The yield on three-year government bond remained fixed at 1.71 percent while the 10-year treasury yield rose one basis point to 2.23 percent.

BY CHOI HYUNG-JO, YONHAP [choi.hyungjo@joongang.co.kr]