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Shares fall amid retaliation from China

Mar 21,2017
Seoul’s main bourse fell for the first time in three trading days due to weakened investor sentiment over rising concerns over the Chinese government’s apparent retaliation against Korea’s deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense antimissile system. Foreign investors who went for profit-taking only made things worse.

The benchmark Kospi closed at 2,157.01, down 7.57 points, or 0.35 percent, from the previous trading day.

Foreign investors offloaded 84.8 billion won ($75.8 million) in shares and retail investors sold 51.3 billion won in stock. This was the first time in 11 trading days that foreign investors switched to offloading.

Meanwhile, retail investors bought 84.5 billion won in shares.

Also, investors took to the sidelines over the news that the G-20 nations stopped short of making a pledge to avoid trade protectionism at a meeting over the weekend.

“Foreign investors are likely to continue to sell local stocks for the time being, citing their pattern of trading since the 2008-09 global financial crisis,” said Kwak Hyun-soo, an analyst at Shinhan Investment.

Samsung Electronics fell 1.18 percent to 2,095,000 won, while global chipmaker SK Hynix rose 1.82 percent to 47,600 won.

Naver, operator of the nation’s top Internet portal, shed 1.09 percent to 818,000 won.

Automakers traded in positive terrain, with Hyundai Motor up 3.3 percent to 156,500 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors edging up 0.41 percent to 37,000 won.

Samsung SDS jumped 3.94 percent to 145,000 won, while the tobacco company KT&G dropped 0.72 percent to 96,800 won.

The secondary Kosdaq fell for the second day as well, closing at 609.11, down 4.15 points, or 0.68 percent.

Celltrion fell 0.65 percent to 91,500 won, while Kakao rose 1.07 percent to close at 84,900 won.

The local currency closed at 1,120.10 won against the U.S. dollar, up 10.8 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 0.7 basis points to 1.668 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond declined 0.8 basis point to 1.86 percent.

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