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Profit-taking pulls down local market

Aug 22,2017
Korean stocks closed lower on Monday after foreign and institutional investors scaled back their holdings to go for profit-taking.

The benchmark index, the Kospi, fell 3.37 points or 0.14 percent to close at 2,355.00. Trade volume was moderate at 204.5 million shares worth 3.75 trillion won ($3.3 billion). Institutional investors dumped a net 103.98 billion won worth of stocks while foreign investors sold off 20.52 billion won. The index is lacking strong upward momentum as investors remain cautious, awaiting cues from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s annual economic policy symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, this week, analysts said.

Blue-chip stocks fell across the board, with bellwether Samsung Electronics inching down 0.13 percent to 2,342,000 won and state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corporation declining 1.45 percent to 44,200 won.

Among Samsung affiliates, Samsung C&T, the de facto holding company, fell 0.37 percent to 133,000 won, Samsung Life Insurance shrank 1.26 percent to 118,000 won and Samsung’s IT services affiliate, Samsung SDS, dropped 3.2 percent to 166,500 won. Gains were seen at drug maker Samsung Biologics, which rose 0.55 percent to 274,500 won, and battery maker Samsung SDI, up 1.13 percent to close at 178,500 won.

Auto stocks advanced, keeping the main index from falling further. Top carmaker Hyundai Motor rose 2.42 percent to 148,000 won, and its affiliate Kia Motors climbed 0.99 percent to 35,700 won. Auto parts affiliate Hyundai Mobis also gained 2.64 percent to 252,500 won.

The tech-heavy Kosdaq index fell 2.73 points or 0.42 percent to 640.85. It is the first fall in five trading days for the bourse, led by offloading from foreign and institutional investors. Among top 10 shares listed on the Kosdaq, Celltrion was the only company that managed to see its share price go up. The pharmaceutical company rose 0.91 percent to 110,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,139.00 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2.30 won from Friday’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended mixed. The yield on three-year bonds rose 0.7 basis points to 1.78 percent, but the return on five-year bonds fell 0.2 basis points to 1.99 percent.

BY KIM JEE-HEE, YONHAP [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]