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Kospi falls 2.31% as investors dump shares

Feb 08,2018
Korean stocks ended lower Wednesday as foreigners and institutions dumped shares amid market jitters. The won rose against the dollar.

The benchmark Kospi fell 56.75 points, or 2.31 percent, to 2,396.56. The main index ended in negative territory for a fourth straight session.

The Kospi moved upwards earlier in the session, influenced by the 2.3 percent increase in the Dow Jones industrial average and the low stock prices following previous sessions. Before closing, however, institutional investors offloaded stocks en masse ahead of February’s options expiration date on Thursday.

Foreigners and institutions sold a combined 929 billion won ($855 million) worth of stocks on profit-taking, institutional investors responsible for some 739 billion won of it. Individuals bought a net 926 billion won worth of shares, keeping the Kospi index from falling further.

Most large-cap stocks declined across the board.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 3.42 percent to 2,290,000 won, leading steelmaker Posco declined 2.67 percent to 365,000 won and cosmetics giant AmorePacific plunged 4.9 percent to 281,500 won.

Chemical companies took a large blow. LG Chem fell 3.47 percent down to 375,000 won, while Lotte Chemical fell 4.85 percent to 392,000 won. Among gainers, No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix rose 1.28 percent to 71,100 won, and No. 2 electronics company LG Electronics climbed 0.42 percent to 96,500 won. Top carmaker Hyundai Motor ended unchanged at 157,500 won.

Kosdaq, the country’s secondary market, fell 28.21 points, or 3.29 percent, to 829.96. Though the 2.1 percent spike in U.S. Nasdaq helped the Kosdaq rise as well, the tech-heavy index fell in negative territory as institutional and foreign investors were net sellers, loading off a total of 227 billion won worth of shares.

As with the primary market, the plunge was mitigated by domestic investors, who bought a net 231.8 billion won worth of shares.

The pharmaceutical sector was hit especially hard, dropping 6.2 percent. Celltrion plunged 9.92 percent to 256,000 won, and its subsidiary, Celltrion Healthcare, likewise shed 9.54 percent to 111,900 won. Samsung Biologics fared better, dropping 2.89 percent. The local currency closed at 1,086.60 won against the dollar, up 4.90 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds fell one basis point to 2.25 percent, and the return on benchmark 10-year government bonds declined 3 basis points to 2.72 percent.

BY KIM EUN-JIN, YONHAP [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]