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Large-cap shares lift Kospi to another record

Jan 27,2018
Korean stocks finished at an all-time high for the second day in a row on Friday, paring earlier losses as institutional and foreign buyers scooped up large-cap shares, analysts said.

The benchmark Kospi added 12.53 points, or 0.49 percent, to close at 2,574.76.

The Seoul index initially opened lower, but institutions and foreigners soon became net buyers, targeting major tech and bio shares.

Foreign and institutional investors purchased 182.8 billion won ($171.8 million) and 116.5 billion won in shares, relatively. Retail investors offloaded 384.3 billion won.

“Both foreigners and institutions scooped up local shares to add an upward momentum to the market,” said Lee Young-kon, a Hana Financial Investment analyst. “Most of all, expectations were added after the Kospi hit a record high yesterday.”

By sector, retail and pharmaceutical industries were strong as they strengthened 2.6 and 2.5 percent, respectively. Service rose 2 percent while transportation slumped 3.4 percent.

Most tech shares ended higher, with market bellwether Samsung Electronics adding 1.03 percent to continue a four-day winning streak at 2,539,000 won. SK Hynix, a major chipmaker, lost 0.40 percent to end at 75,500 won.

Leading game publisher NCSOFT jumped 5.64 percent to close at 449,500 won, on the back of continued popularity of its mobile game, “Lineage M.” Its rival, Netmarble Games, soared 6.04 percent to end at 175,500 won.

Shares of pharmaceutical companies gained ground, with Samsung BioLogics, a biopharmaceutical affiliate of Samsung Group, up 3.21 percent to end at 418,000 won.

Auto stocks, meanwhile, ended bearish, with leading automaker Hyundai Motor losing 3.79 percent to 152,500 won and its sister company Kia Motors shedding 1.18 percent to 33,500 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis tumbled 8.21 percent to 246,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq rose consecutively for the fourth session, closing Friday at 913.23, up 14.52 points or 1.62 percent from Thursday. Purchases from institutional investors fueled the uplift.

Celltrion advanced 3.56 percent to 300,000 won along with subsidiary Celltrion Healthcare, which saw its closing price rise 4.54 percent to 122,100 won. Meanwhile, Sillajen shed 1.35 percent to 110,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,063.9 won against the U.S. dollar, down 5.30 won from Thursday’s close.

Bond prices ended lower. The yield on three-year bonds added one basis point to 2.22 percent, and the return on the 10-year bond rose two basis points to 2.68 percent.

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