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Investors reap gains from another record day

Nov 07,2017
Korean stocks finished lower on Monday as investors opted to cash in on recent gains after the main index closed at a record level during the previous session.

The Kospi fell 8.56 points, or 0.33 percent, from the previous session, to close at 2,549.41. Earlier in the day, the local market opened lower despite a rally in U.S. stocks last week, with large-cap technology shares, including Samsung Electronics, losing ground on profit-taking.

“Upbeat earnings reports from U.S. companies have a positive impact on the local stock market, but investors opted to lock in recent gains amid uncertainties over the two countries’ bilateral free trade agreement,” said Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities.

Presidents Moon Jae-in and Donald Trump are expected to meet on Tuesday as part of Trump’s first trip to Asia since his inauguration. During the summit meeting, trade is expected to be high on the agenda along with issues related to North Korea. The two countries recently launched a formal discussion on modifying their bilateral trade deal.

Institutional investors dumped 367.8 billion won ($331 million) in stocks, while individual and foreign investors each bought 181.2 billion won and 143.9 billion won worth of shares.

Most large-cap stocks fell on Monday. Market linchpin Samsung Electronics remained unchanged at 2,819,000 won, while SK Hynix, a global chipmaker and second-largest by market cap, dropped 1.07 percent to end at 83,500 won.

Posco, a leading steelmaker, plunged 2 percent to 319,000 won, and LG Chem, Korea’s leading chemical refiner, lost 1.21 percent to close at 409,000 won.

Auto shares were also among the losers, with top automaker Hyundai Motor declining 1.86 percent to end at 158,500 won and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors sliding 0.99 percent to 34,900 won. Auto parts supplier Hyundai Mobis, on the other hand, gained 0.55 percent to close at 272,500 won.

The secondary index, the Kosdaq, added 2.66 points, or 0.38 percent, to close at 703.79 on Monday. Stock uplifts across the Nasdaq as well as a pledge from the new Korea Exchange president to strengthen the tech-heavy market had a positive effect on investor sentiment. By sector, semiconductors and chemicals rose.

The local currency closed at 1,115 won against the U.S. dollar, down 1.2 won from the previous session. The yield on three-year government bonds moved up two basis points to 2.15 percent, and returns on 10-year bonds rose two basis points to 2.55 percent.

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