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Kospi inches up as market opens on a new year

Jan 03,2018
Seoul’s main bourse rose slightly on Tuesday, starting the New Year on a positive note.

The benchmark Kospi rose 12.16, or 0.49 percent, to close at 2,479.65.

“The improved Chinese purchasing managers’ index (PMI) and continued growth trend in Korean exports are positive factors for the local bourse,” said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities.

Foreigners led the increase on Tuesday as they scooped up 132.5 billion won ($124.55 million) in local shares. Institutional investors offloaded 142.9 billion won in Korean stocks while retail investors net sold 26.6 billion won.

By sector, pharmaceutical shares rose 3.1 percent while construction and steel each went up by 1.6 and 1.2 percent.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics inched up 0.12 percent to close the session at 2,551,000 won on Tuesday. SK Hynix, second-largest chipmaker in Korea, also nudged up 0.13 percent to 76,600 won. Top steelmaker Posco closed the day at 339,000 won, up 1.95 percent from the previous session. Portal giant Naver pushed up 1.72 percent to 885,000 won and LG Chem, Korea’s top battery maker, increased 1.48 percent to 411,000 won.

Top oil refiner SK Innovation stepped up 0.98 percent to 206,500 won. Home appliance producer LG Electronics advanced 3.30 percent to 109,500 won.

Cosmetics shares also started the year on positive note.

AmorePacific, Korea’s top cosmetic producer, grew 2.63 percent to 312,500 won. LG Household & Healthcare closed at 1,200,000 won, up 0.93 percent.

Financial shares were mixed across the board.

Hana Financial Group went up 2.21 percent to 50,900 won Tuesday. While Shinhan Financial Group remained fixed at 49,400 won, KB Financial Group, Korea’s top financial holding company by asset size, inched down 0.47 percent to 63,100 won.

Auto shares were in negative terrain on Tuesday.

Hyundai Motor, Korea’s top auto maker tumbled 4.17 percent to 149,500 won.

The secondary Kosdaq also started out the year strong on Tuesday, up 14.03, or 1.76 percent, to close at 812.45.

The local currency ended at 1,061.20 won against the U.S. dollar, up 9.30 won from the previous session’s close, the highest since October 2014.

The yield on three-year government bonds fell two basis points to 2.12 percent. Return on 10-year bonds rose two basis points to 2.49 percent.

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