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Korean market flat ahead of U.S. Fed meeting

Sept 20,2017
Korean stocks finished almost flat Tuesday as investors attempted to lock in recent gains, analysts said.

The benchmark Kospi inched down 2.16 points, or 0.09 percent, to close at 2,416.05.

Foreigners offloaded a net 143.7 billion won ($127 million) and institutions 50.9 billion won worth of local stocks, targeting some major tech and insurance stocks, a move seen as cashing in on recent gains, analysts said. Meanwhile, individuals bought a net 149.8 billion won.

The market opened a tad lower despite overnight gains on Wall Street. On Monday local time, major U.S. indexes hit fresh record highs as investors awaited a Federal Reserve meeting scheduled for later this week.

Analysts said investors took a breather following a recent rally.

“Investors are increasingly taking a wait-and-see stance ahead of the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting,” said Kim Byong-yun, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities, noting that the market could have upward momentum after the FOMC meeting.

Most large caps closed mixed.

Tech shares ended bearish, with top cap Samsung Electronics ending at 2,606,000 won, down 0.69 percent.

Its smaller rival LG Electronics lost 2.2 percent to 89,000 won, and LG Display, a major flat panel maker, shed 5 percent to 32,300 won.

SK Hynix, a major chipmaker, inched down 0.63 percent to 79,200 won to end a seven-day winning streak.

Shipbuilders also closed in positive terrain, with industry leader Hyundai Heavy Industries jumping 7.61 percent to close at 148,500 won. Samsung Heavy Industries, another major shipyard, gained 3.29 percent to 11,000 won.

Auto shares ended in positive terrain, with leading automaker Hyundai Motor adding 2.19 percent to 140,000 won. Its sister company, Kia Motors, was up 1.47 percent at 31,000 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis also inched up 0.46 percent to 217,500 won.

Notably, Hanmi Pharmaceutical shot up 6.29 percent to end at 431,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq closed down 1.39 points, or 0.21 percent from the previous session, to 674.48 on Tuesday. Sell-offs of semiconductors and IT-related stocks led the decline.

The local currency weakened 0.4 percent from the previous day to close at 1,131.3 won against the greenback.

Three-year government bond yield added four basis points to 1.78 percent on Tuesday, whereas the 10-year yield added three basis points to 2.29 percent.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON, YONHAP [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]