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Kospi slips lower but Kosdaq is moving on up

Jan 11,2018
Korean stocks closed lower Wednesday on tech heavyweight losses, as investors fretted over the cloudy prospect of the memory chip business, analysts said.

The benchmark Kospi sank 10.48 points, or 0.42 percent, to close at 2,499.75. Trade volume was moderate at 440.03 million shares worth 8.43 trillion won ($7.87 billion), with winners outnumbering losers 502 to 328.

The market index started higher, but it lost steam as foreigners turned to net sellers ahead of quarterly earnings reports by major corporations.

“The Kospi lacks strong growth momentum as analysts have low expectations for the fourth-quarter earnings,” Jeong Dai, an analyst at Meritz Securities, said. “With the memory chip prices nearing a peak, the outlook for chipmakers is not as good as last year. The shipbuilding industry is also expected to release disappointing quarterly reports.”

Foreigners dumped a net 279.2 billion won worth of stocks, while institutions and retail investors bought a net 99.5 billion won and 130.2 billion won, respectively.

Tech heavyweights extended their losses as foreign exchange rates and rising chip supplies raised concerns over their export prospects.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics declined 3.1 percent to 2,442,000 won after posting a weaker-than-expected operating profit estimate for the fourth quarter Monday. Major chipmaker SK Hynix sank for the third trading day, losing 5.2 percent Wednesday to 72,800 won.

Auto shares were up. Top automaker Hyundai Motor gained 1.97 percent to 155,500 won, and its auto parts subsidiary Hyundai Mobis added 2.2 percent to 255,000 won. Kia Motors also added 1.69 percent to 33,050 won.

Cosmetic shares rallied on brisk sales prospects in China and Southeast Asian nations.

The secondary Kosdaq added 4.92 points, or 0.59 percent from the previous session, to close at 834.91. The government’s plan to offer support to boost the Kosdaq market positively affected investor sentiment.

Celltrion added 1.2 percent to 296,000 won whereas its smaller affiliate Celltrion Healthcare shed 3.11 percent to 109,000 won.

The local currency ended at 1,071.9 won against the U.S. dollar, down 4.8 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended lower. The yield on three-year government bonds increased two basis points to 2.17 percent. The return on 10-year government bonds rose seven basis points to 2.64 percent.

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