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Stocks almost flat before U.S. Fed talks

Mar 09,2017
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Korean stocks closed almost unchanged Wednesday as investors took to the sidelines ahead of a much-anticipated rate hike in the United States and on a growing spat between Seoul and China.

The benchmark Kospi closed at 2,095.41, up 1.36 points, or 0.06 percent, from the previous trading day.

The local stock market opened higher as top market cap Samsung Electronics continued to rise ahead of its first-quarter earnings report, but many investors offloaded their shares to take advantage of recent gains.

“Investors are expected to take a wait-and-see mode until the Fed’s meeting slated for next week,” said Kim Sung-hwan, an analyst at Bookook Securities.

Foreign investors bought 152.1 billion won ($132.7 million) worth of shares on Wednesday. Institutional investors offloaded 194.2 billion won and retail investors sold 17.6 billion won in stocks.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics remained unchanged at 2,010,000 won, while Hyundai Motor rose 0.35 percent to 144,500 won.

SK Telecom jumped 4.33 percent to 241,000 won and AmorePacific added 3.02 percent to 272,500 won. LG Display rose 2.53 percent to 64,900 won and Samsung SDI went up 4 percent to 130,000 won.

Posco, the nation’s top steelmaker, advanced 0.69 percent to 290,000 won, almost a yearly high, on optimism on an increase in steel prices. LG Chem, on the other hand, fell 1.44 percent to 273,000 won and SK Hynix, a major chipmaker, shed 1.64 percent to end at 48,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq closed at 605.75, down 0.3 points, or 0.05 percent, from the previous trading day.

Celltrion dropped 0.5 percent to 99,800 won and Kakao fell 0.84 percent to 83,000 won. CJ E&M, on the other hand, rose 2.54 percent to 76,700 won.

The local currency closed at 1,145.50 won against the U.S. dollar, down 0.60 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasuries closed flat at 1.784 percent, while the return on the benchmark five-year government bond shed 0.4 basis point to 1.989 percent.

BY kim young-nam, yonhap [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]