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Kospi inches down as investors pick up profits

Dec 20,2017
Seoul’s main bourse retreated slightly on Tuesday, pushed down by profit-taking from investors.

The benchmark Kospi fell 3.35 points, or 0.13 percent, to close at 2,478.53 on Tuesday.

“Cosmetics and auto shares, which have recently gained strong ground on improved relations with China, backtracked as investors locked in profits,” said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities. “Also, foreign investors have been reluctant to buy local stocks due to a negative outlook on corporate earnings for the fourth quarter.”

Still, foreign investors net bought 64.5 billion won ($59.5 million) worth of Korean stocks. Institutional investors scooped up 282.3 billion won in local shares. Retail investors offloaded 356.8 billion won on Tuesday.

By sector, machinery fell 2.7 percent and food and beverage tumbled 2.1 percent.

Movements were mixed across the board.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 0.70 percent to close at 2,578,000 won.

Second-leading chipmaker SK Hynix also rose 3.89 percent to 80,200 won, recovering slightly from the recent fall. Posco, the nation’s top steelmaker, inched up 0.31 percent.

Battery makers were in positive terrain.

LG Chem, Korea’s top battery producer, edged up 0.25 percent to 398,500 won. Samsung SDI, battery-making arm of Samsung Group, pushed up 0.48 percent to 209,000 won.

Automotive companies showed mixed movements on Tuesday.

Hyundai Mobis, top auto parts maker and affiliate of Hyundai Motor Group, nudged up 0.37 percent to 268,000 won. However, Korea’s top automotive company Hyundai Motor retreated 0.65 percent to close at 153,000 won. Sister company Kia Motors also inched down 0.45 percent to 33,150 won.

Cosmetic and tourism shares were in negative terrain on Tuesday.

AmorePacific, the country’s top cosmetics maker, slipped 0.79 percent to close at 314,500 won. LG Household and Health Care fell 1.32 percent to 1,198,000 won. Lotte Shopping lost 1.75 percent to 196,500 won, and Shinsegae decreased 2.83 percent to 292,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq shed 4.32 points to close at 766,18.

The local currency closed at 1,084.9 won against the U.S. dollar, up 3.6 won from the previous session.

The return on three-year government bond rose one basis point to 2.10 percent. The yield on 10-year bond went up two basis points to 2.45 percent.

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