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Markets fall as investors opt for profit-taking

Dec 15,2017
Korean stocks ended lower on Thursday as investors offloaded tech and auto shares for profit.

The benchmark index, the Kospi, fell 11.07 points to end the day at 2,469.48. Trade volume was moderate at 313.63 million shares worth 8.12 trillion won ($7.5 billion).

Retail and institutional investors dumped 378 billion won worth of stocks, outweighing foreign buying valued at 372 billion won.

Tech and auto shares led losses, with market leader Samsung Electronics falling 0.51 percent to 2,553,000 won. SK Hynix dropped 1.04 percent to 76,000 won, and top automaker Hyundai Motor lost 0.66 percent to close the session at 150,500 won.

Other losers included steelmaker Posco, down 1.20 percent to 330,500 won; LG Chem, which dipped 0.76 percent to 390,000 won; and internet giant Naver, which fell 0.71 percent to 835,000 won.

Among gainers, the Korea Electric Power Corporation rose 0.65 percent to 38,700 won, and oil refiner SK Innovation climbed 0.98 percent to 206,000 won. LG Electronics jumped 3.68 percent to 101,500 won, and tobacco company KT&G rose 0.42 percent to 120,000 won.

Jin Air, the low-cost carrier of Korean Air, gained 1.29 percent to close at 27,500 won in its first week since going public. It is the second Korean low-cost carrier to list on the local market. Other airlines including Korean Air, Asiana Airlines and Jeju Air, a low-cost carrier, all saw growth of over 1 percent on Thursday.

The secondary index, the Kosdaq, fell 0.24 percent to close at 770.35 on Thursday. After the market rose 1.6 percent the previous day, investors went for profit-taking.

Institutional investors sold 132.7 billion won worth of stocks, while foreign investors offloaded 42.6 billion won. Retail investors, on the other hand, bought 176.1 billion won.

Drugmaker Celltrion, the largest company by market capitalization, fell 0.24 percent to 209,500 won. SillaJen, a biotech company, dropped 4.71 percent to 84,900 won, and CJ E&M, an entertainment company, retreated 1.88 percent to 88,800 won.

CJ O Shopping rose 0.39 percent to 230,000 won, and its rival GS Home Shopping advanced 0.14 percent to 213,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,089.10 won against the U.S. dollar, up 1.60 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, had a mixed day. Returns on three-year government bonds rose 0.2 basis points to 2.08 percent, while returns on five-year bonds fell 0.1 basis point to 2.27 percent.

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