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Kospi inches up as investors buy tech shares

Jan 19,2018
Seoul’s main bourse slightly inched up Thursday by 0.02 percent as investors scooped up large-cap tech shares following overnight gains on Wall Street, analysts said.

The benchmark Kospi was up 0.38 of a point, or 0.02 percent, to 2,515.81.

The secondary bourse Kosdaq rose by 1.31 percent, or 11.61 points, to 898.19 on the back of strong performance by biotechnology-related firms listed there.

While foreigners and individual investors scooped up shares worth 185.6 billion won combined, their purchases were eclipsed by institutional selling, which amounted to 223.6 billion won Thursday.

The Kospi opened higher, taking a cue from overnight gains on Wall Street. On Wednesday (local time), the U.S. markets posted strong gains with the Dow Jones closing above 26,000 points. The broader S&P 500 added 0.9 percent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 1 percent

“The U.S. stocks closed higher on the back of upbeat earnings, leading to the increase of the stock market,” said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities. “Noticeably, a sound earnings announcement by chipmakers and other tech firms also led to relevant shares in the local stock market.”

Most large-cap stocks had a mixed day of trading, with tech and bio shares leading the gains.

Top player Samsung Electronics ended at 2,495,000 won, up 0.56 percent from the previous session’s close. Chipmaker SK Hynix also increased 1.48 percent to 752,000 won.

Shares of pharmaceutical companies lost ground, while Samsung BioLogics, a biopharmaceutical affiliate of Samsung Group, was up 0.63 percent to end at 400,000 won.

In contrast, auto stocks closed bearish, with leading automaker Hyundai Motor losing 1.59 percent to 155,000 won, and its sister company, Kia Motors, moving down 0.46 percent to 32,700 won.

Naver, the operator of the country’s largest portal site, gained 1.69 percent, or 15,000 won, to 903,000 won. Kakao, the operator of chat app Kakao Talk, which has the biggest local market share, rose by 1.12 percent to close at 135,500 won.

For the tech-heavy Kosdaq, Celltrion added 1.85 percent to 319,300 won and its smaller affiliate Celltrion Healthcare also saw its share jump by 3.14 percent to 134,600 won.

The local currency closed at 1,070.7 won against the U.S. dollar, down 1.4 won from Wednesday’s close.

Bond prices ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds lost 5.4 basis points to 2.173 percent, and the return on five-year government bonds was down 3.9 basis points to 2.430 percent.

BY KANG JIN-KYU, YONHAP [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]