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Institutional investors push Seoul stocks up

Feb 22,2018
Korean stocks finished higher on Wednesday, paring earlier losses, as institutional investors scooped up large-cap shares, analysts said. The Korean won depreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi added 14.53 points, or 0.6 percent, to close at 2,429.65. Trade volume increased slightly from the previous session to reach 6 trillion won ($5.58 billion).

The primary index initially opened lower, tracking overnight losses on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 1.01 percent, the S&P 500 lost 0.58 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite inched down 0.07 percent. Prices ended higher as large institutional investors purchased shares en masse.

“The local stock market closed mildly higher as uncertainties eased despite the Wall Street losses,” said Lee Young-kon, a Hana Financial Investment analyst.

Institutions and individuals were net buyers, purchasing 114.4 billion won and 7.3 billion won worth of shares respectively. Foreigners offloaded a net 99.1 billion won.

The food sector was a major winner. Orion, the country’s leading sweets manufacturer, soared 6.10 percent to 113,000 won. CJ CheilJedang, CJ’s food arm, jumped 2.92 percent to 334,500 won.

Most tech shares ended mixed, with market bellwether Samsung Electronics losing 0.25 percent to continue a three-day losing streak at 2,364,000 won. SK Hynix, a major chipmaker, added 1.85 percent to end at 76,900 won.

Leading bio firm Celltrion gained 1.15 percent to 307,500 won, and Samsung BioLogics, a biopharmaceutical affiliate of Samsung Group, was unchanged at 425,000 won.

Auto stocks were also mixed, with leading automaker Hyundai Motor adding 4.23 percent to 160,000 won and its sister company, Kia Motors, increasing 3.2 percent to 33,850 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis lost 0.22 percent to 222,500 won.

The secondary Kosdaq also ended in positive terrain, helped by rising stock shares of semiconductors in the U.S. markets.

Institutions and foreigners were net buyers, purchasing 146.3 billion won and 75.5 billion worth of stocks respectively. Individuals offloaded a net 197.9 billion won.

The local currency closed at 1,076.2 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2.7 won from Tuesday.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds lost one basis point to 2.31 percent, and the return on 10-year government bonds shed 0.6 basis point to 2.80 percent.

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