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Kospi suffers wait-and-see sentiment

Sept 02,2017
Seoul’s main bourse continued to retreat on Friday as institutional investors offloaded Korean shares in search of greener pastures.

The benchmark index, the Kospi, closed at 2,357.69 on Friday, down 5.50 points or 0.23 percent from the previous session.

Institutional investors sold off 217.8 billion won ($194.05 million) worth of stocks, while foreign and retail investors each scooped up 76.3 billion won and 134.7 billion won in shares.

The Korean market opened higher early in the day as market sentiment was boosted by overnight gains on Wall Street, but they were pared by institutional investors who offloaded more shares than they bought.

“Investors are hungry for market-moving forces, but at the moment, they are hard pressed to find them,” said Kim Sung-hwan, an analyst at Bookook Securities. “For the time being, the local stock market may be stuck in a tight range.”

By sector, banking and securities fell 2.5 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively. Energy and chemical shares declined 0.7 percent.

Movement was mixed across the board. Samsung Electronics, the top company by market cap, inched up 0.35 percent to 2,324,000 won. Chipmaker SK Hynix edged up 0.15 percent to 68,700 won, and steelmaker Posco gained 1.02 percent to close at 347,000 won.

Car companies were in positive terrain. The country’s top automaker, Hyundai Motor, climbed 1.78 percent to 143,000 won, and its smaller affiliate, Kia Motors, nudged up 0.28 percent to 35,550 won.

Shinhan Financial Group, Korea’s largest financial holding company, fell 0.96 percent to 51,500 won. KB Financial Group and Woori Bank each dropped 0.90 percent and 0.27 percent to 54,900 won and 18,550 won.

The secondary Kosdaq index, on the other hand, extended its rally into a seventh trading day, closing up 4.15 points, or 0.63 percent, at 661.99.

The local currency closed at 1,122.80 won against the U.S. dollar, up 5 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended mixed. The yield on three-year government bonds remained flat at 1.747 percent, and the return on five-year bonds fell 0.2 basis points to 1.966 percent.

BY CHOI HYUNG-JO, YONHAP [choi.hyungjo@joongang.co.kr]