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Seoul stocks fall as foreign investors cash out

Feb 01,2018
Korean stocks fell slightly on Wednesday as foreign investors remained net sellers. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi slipped 1.28 points to close at 2,566.46. Trade volume was moderate at 396 million shares worth 10.7 trillion won ($10 billion).

The local stock market opened lower after a heavy sell-off on Wall Street overnight, but it started rising after Samsung Electronics said it would split its stocks.

All of the gains were erased as the market closed, but the traded amount on the main bourse was the highest since October 2011 largely due to the Samsung news, according to the Korea Exchange.

Foreigners were heavy sellers. They offloaded 663.6 billion won worth of stocks, while institutional investors sold off 185.1 billion won in shares.

Retail investors, on the other hand, scooped up 796.4 billion won worth of stocks.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 0.2 percent to end at 2,495,000 won, and SK Hynix, a global chipmaker, gained 0.55 percent to close at 73,500 won. Naver, operator of Korea’s top search engine, shed 2.26 percent to end the day at 910,000 won.

Automakers traded in positive terrain, with industry leader Hyundai Motor up 3.85 percent to 162,000 won, and affiliate Kia Motors climbing 1.32 percent to 34,650 won.

Battery makers were weak. LG Chem dipped 0.92 percent to 432,000 won, SK Innovation fell 2.62 percent to 204,500 won and Samsung SDI dropped 3.67 percent to 197,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq index declined 7.39 points to close at 913.57. Weak bio shares had pulled down the index for two consecutive days.

Foreigners offloaded 178.2 billion won in shares along with institutional investors who sold off 17.4 billion won. Retail investors bought 198 billion won worth of stock.

The top-listed company on the tech-heavy index, Celltrion, fell 3.34 percent to 315,700 won, and Sillajen tumbled 3.81 percent to 105,900 won. Entertainment giant CJ E&M inched up 0.56 percent, while game maker Pear Abyss was down 1.26 percent.

The local currency closed at 1,067.90 won against the U.S. dollar, up 5.7 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher.

The yield on three-year bonds fell 3.0 basis points to 2.27 percent, and returns on the benchmark five-year bond declined 2.2 basis points to 2.57 percent.

BY KIM JEE-HEE, YONHAP [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]