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Seoul stocks inch up despite U.S. safeguarding

Jan 25,2018
Seoul’s main bourse closed slightly higher on Wednesday, pushed up by purchasing from institutional investors.

The benchmark Kospi rose 1.40 points, or 0.06 percent, to close at 2,538.00. The index was in the fall throughout the day due to unfavorable market conditions, including the safeguard measures by the United States on imported washers, which are likely to affect local home appliance giants such as Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics. The Kospi, however, turned around at the last minute thanks to institutional investors.

Institutions scooped up 244.3 billion won ($228.44 million) worth of local shares on Wednesday. Foreigners, on the other hand, were net sellers of the Korean stocks, offloading 12.9 billion won. Retail investors sold 266.2 billion won Wednesday.

By sector, machinery shares rose by 2.0 percent while shipping rose 1.5 percent. Metal and steel increased by 1.4 percent.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics inched up 0.37 percent to close the session at 2,467,000 won. SK Hynix, second-largest chipmaker, advanced 1.54 percent to 72,400 won.

Top steel maker Posco pushed up 1.84 percent to 387,000 won.

Battery producers were in positive terrain.

LG Chem, the top chemical company and battery manufacturer in Korea, jumped 3.55 percent to 438,000 won Wednesday. SK Innovation edged up 0.25 percent to 199,500 won. Samsung SDI, the battery making arm of Samsung Group, closed the day at 208,000 won, up 3.48 percent compared to a day earlier, on the report that the company enjoyed solid profit in 2017. The company’s net profit from the fourth quarter of 2017 stood at 237.57 billion won, up from 7.7 billion won a year earlier.

Automakers were mixed across the board.

Kia Motors, the second-largest carmaker in Korea, nudged up 0.30 percent to 33,900 won Wednesday. Affiliate parts maker Hyundai Mobis also climbed 0.75 percent to 270,000 won.

Hyundai Motor, the top auto company in Korea, fell 2.80 percent to 156,500 won.

Naver, a local portal giant, slid 1.24 percent to 878,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq also increased slightly on Wednesday, up 0.34 points, or 0.04 percent, to close at 894.77.

The local currency closed at 1,070.20 won against the U.S. dollar, down 0.10 won from Tuesday.

The return on three-year government bond rose by one basis point to 2.20 percent. The yield on 10-year bond fell one basis point to 2.64 percent.

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