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Winning streak ends as Samsung drops

Aug 29,2017
Korean stocks finished lower on Monday, ending a run of gains for four straight sessions, as foreign investors cashed in on recent gains due to the local currency’s strength against the U.S. dollar and a decline in Samsung affiliates, analysts said.

The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar. The benchmark Kospi shed 8.21 points, or 0.35 percent, to close at 2,370.30. Trade volume was light at 224 million shares worth 3.94 trillion won ($3.53 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 438 to 361.

The local stock market opened lower as investors took to the sidelines after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen skirted making any comments on monetary matters at a key policy meeting on Friday.

Also, the won’s gain versus the greenback prompted concerns that local exporters’ earnings growth may slow down.

“Foreign investors are tempted to unload local stocks,” said Lee Kyong-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities, “as the won’s strength against the U.S. dollar is feared to dent local exporters’ bottom line.”

Declines in Samsung Group affiliates added to downward pressure on the local stock market. Samsung Electronics, the top market cap here, dropped 1.96 percent to end at 2,305,000 won. Samsung C&T, the de facto holding firm of the group, also shed 3.37 percent to end at 129,000 won. SK hynix, a major chipmaker, declined 0.73 percent at 67,900 won, and Posco, the top steelmaker, remained flat at 334,500 won.

Korea’s largest automaker Hyundai Motor remained unchanged at 144,000 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors sank 0.43 percent to finish at 34,500 won.

On the other hand, LG Chem, the country’s No. 1 chemical firm, gained 0.27 percent to end at 144,500 won, and leading cosmetics maker AmorePacific rose 1.55 percent, to 295,500 won. Secondary Kosdaq index closed at 652.92, up 2.65 points or 0.41 percent from the previous trading day. The local currency closed at 1,119.90 won against the U.S. dollar, up 8.6 won from the previous session’s close. Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys gained 0.2 basis points to 1.758 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond rose 0.3 basis points to 1.963 percent.

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