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Seoul stocks inch down as investors cash in

Jan 05,2018
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Seoul’s main bourse retreated on Thursday, pushed down by investors trying to cash in on their recent earnings.

The benchmark Kospi closed at 2,466.46 on Thursday, down 19.89, or 0.80 percent, from the previous session. It was the first time in five trading days that the index took a downturn.

“The bourse went as high as above the 2,500 mark following overnight U.S. gains, but fell as investors opted to lock in recent profits,” said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities.

Institutional investors offloaded 393.4 billion won ($369.8 million) worth of stocks on Thursday. Foreigners, on the other hand, scooped up 330.3 billion won in shares while retail investors net bought 43.8 billion won.

By sector, pharmaceutical shares fell 2.5 percent and chemical shares 2.0 percent. Transportation and equipment shares retreated 1.9 percent and insurance 1.7 percent on Thursday.

Most large caps in the index closed lower.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 1.05 percent to 2,554,000 won Thursday. Second largest chipmaker SK Hynix also pushed down 0.77 percent to 77,100 won.

Top financial shares were also in negative terrain.

KB Financial Group, Korea’s largest financial holding company by asset size, inched down 0.16 percent to 63,000 won. Shinhan Financial Group tumbled 1.10 percent to 49,400 won. Hana Financial Group also closed lower, down 0.19 percent to 51,300 won.

Netmarble Games, Korea’s top mobile game publisher, plummeted 5.25 percent due to the news that its earnings from the fourth quarter will remain below expectations.

Auto shares also closed lower.

Hyundai Motor, Korea’s top automotive company, slipped 2.66 percent to 146,500 won. Its sister company Kia Motors fell 3.22 percent to 31,550 won. Affiliate and parts maker pushed down 3.90 percent to 246,500 won.

Top chemical shares also fell.

LG Chem, Korea’s top battery maker and chemical company, pushed down 3.42 percent to 395,500 won. SK Innovation, a chemical and oil-refining arm of SK, retreated 1.98 percent to 198,500 won.

Posco, Korea’s leading steel maker, managed to close higher Thursday, up 2.80 percent from the previous session to close at 367,500 won. Portal giant Naver also went up 2.80 percent to 893,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq snapped its six-day rally and fell 14.30, or 1.74 percent, to close at 808.01.

The local currency closed at 1,062.20 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2.3 won from the previous session’s close.


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