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Kospi sheds 27.70 points as tech stocks get cut

Feb 21,2018
Korean stocks ended lower Tuesday as institutional investors dumped major tech stocks to lock in recent gains after a four-day winning streak, analysts said. The Korean won depreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi shed 27.70 points, or 1.13 percent, to close at 2,415.12. Trading slumped at 5.1 trillion won ($4.74 billion) as U.S. stock markets closed for Presidents’ Day.

Institutional investors offloaded a net 296.1 billion won worth of local stocks amidst fears of U.S. plans to impose high tariffs on steel imports. Individuals and foreigners were net buyers by snatching up 257.9 billion won and 29.3 billion won, respectively.

“The local market closed higher during the previous session,” said Lee Kyung-min, an analyst at Daeshin Securities. “However, the Kospi was put under downward pressure as the Korean won lost ground against the greenback and institutional selling.”

Most large-cap shares ended on a bearish note with tech, bio and insurance leading the loss. Samsung Electronics fell 2.03 percent to 2,370,000 won, and SK Hynix, one of the top chipmakers in the world, was down 1.31 percent to 75,500 won.

Leading bio firm Celltrion also shed 3.95 percent to 304,000 won following previous gains.

Auto shares also ended in negative terrain, with leading automaker Hyundai Motor backtracking 0.97 percent to 153,500 won. Its sister company, Kia Motors, lost 0.91 percent to 32,800 won, and Hyundai Mobis was down 0.22 percent to 223,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq dropped 11.40 points, or 1.30 percent, to 864.41. Institutions and foreigners were net sellers, hoping to reap gains from the tech-heavy market’s 3 percent hike during the previous trading session.

Institutions and foreigners offloaded 70 billion won and 141.1 billion won respectively, while individuals purchased a net 227.1 billion won.

Pharmaceuticals were major losers. Celltrion Healthcare, a Celltrion subsidiary, lost 3.39 percent to 125,500 won. SillaJen, another leading bio firm, dropped 3.81 percent to 91,000 won. Entertainment and game companies also lost. Entertainment giant CJ E&M dropped 2.28 percent to 85,900 won. Game developer Pearl Abyss shed 4.75 percent to 242,900 won, while NCSOFT fell by 3.33 percent to 392,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,073.5 won against the dollar, up 5.9 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended lower. The yield on three-year bonds added 1.4 basis points to 2.32 percent, and the return on 10-year government bonds gained 0.9 basis points to 2.81 percent.

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