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Kospi declines for first time in 4 days

Mar 10,2017
Seoul’s main bourse fell for the first time in four days Thursday as a fall in global crude oil prices and the rising likelihood of an interest rate hike in the United States depressed investors’ sentiments. The Chinese government’s decisions to retaliate against Korea economically for an antimissile system deployment only made things worse.

The benchmark Kospi closed at 2,091.06, down 4.35 points, or 0.21 percent, from the previous trading day.

Foreign investors bought 444.9 billion won ($384.4 million) worth of shares and retail investors bought 114.6 billion won on Thursday. Institutional investors offloaded 618.2 billion won in shares.

The market opened a tad higher as some market heavyweights, such as LG Electronics and Posco continued to build up gains, with foreign investors extending their buying mode to a third day.

But investors remained cautious about risky bets ahead of the Federal Reserve’s scheduled two-day policy meeting slated for next week.

“Although a U.S. rate hike is a concern for investors, the risk appetite will remain down, with foreign investors’ buying mode continuing,” said Kim Sung-hwan, an analyst at Bookook Securities.

Top cap Samsung Electronics ended flat at 2,010,000 won, and SK hynix, a major chipmaker, also closed unchanged at 48,000 won. LG Electronics, a major home appliance maker, ended its two-day winning streak at 64,800 won, down 0.15 percent.

Posco, Korea’s top steelmaker, shed 1.38 percent to end at 286,000 won, after touching a record high.

In contrast, Hyundai Motor, the country’s leading automaker, gained 0.35 percent to 145,000 won, and SK Telecom, the No. 1 mobile carrier, continued to rise, going up 2.9 percent to 248,000 won.

China-exposed stocks, which have been battered by a growing spat between South Korea and China over the deployment of a U.S. antimissile system, rebounded from their extended slump.

The secondary Kosdaq closed at 606.13, up 0.38, or 0.06 percent, from the previous trading day. The local currency closed at 1,158.10 won against the U.S. dollar, down 12.60 won from the previous session’s close.

BY KIM YOUNG-NAM, YONHAP [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]