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Foreign buying pushes Seoul shares up

Aug 24,2017
Korean stocks ended higher Wednesday as foreigners buying offset a sell-off by institutions. The won traded higher against the dollar.

The benchmark Kospi rose 1.07 points, or 0.05 percent, to close at 2,366.40. Trade volume was moderate at 225.09 million shares worth 3.918 trillion won ($3.3 billion), with losers outnumbering winners 479 to 306.

Foreigners and individuals bought a combined 183 billion worth of stocks, offsetting 198 billion won worth of shares sold by institutions.

Analysts expect the Kospi index to move in a tight range this week as all eyes are looking for cues from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s annual economic policy symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Large-cap stocks traded mixed across the board, with bellwether Samsung Electronics advancing 1.02 percent to 2,374,000 won, but top carmaker Hyundai Motor declined 0.34 percent to 146,500 won.

Korea Electric Power Corporation inched up 0.46 percent to 44,000 won, IT giant Naver grew 0.78 percent to 773,000 won and Samsung C&T advanced 2.28 percent to 134,500 won.

The billionaire founder of Naver, Lee Hae-jin, has cut his stock holdings in Korea’s dominant Internet portal operator by selling 110,000 shares. Lee sold his 0.33 percent stake in a block deal worth 81.8 billion won or 743,990 won per share, on Tuesday, according to the filing. Lee’s stock holding in Naver was lowered to 4.31 percent from 4.64 percent.

The country’s No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix shed 0.29 percent to 68,000 won, and leading steelmaker Posco declined 2.79 percent to 330,500 won.

The tech heavy Kosdaq market fell 0.55 points or 0.09 percent to close at 643.71. The market started strong, but grew weaker as institution investors offloaded stocks near market closing.

Major pharmaceutical shares on the secondary market fell.

Celltrion lost 1.97 percent to 114,700 won and Medytox shed 0.8 percent to 530,200 won.

The local currency closed at 1,131.80 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2.00 won from Tuesday’s close.

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