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Losses on Wall Street drag Seoul stocks down

Feb 23,2018
Korean stocks ended lower Thursday as foreign investors cashed in recent gains following overnight losses on Wall Street, analysts said. The Korean won depreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi declined 15.37 points, or 0.63 percent, to close at 2,414.28. Trade volume was light at 4.8 trillion won ($4.44 billion).

Institutional investors and foreigners offloaded a net 107.2 billion won and 97.9 billion won worth of local stocks, respectively, while individuals were net buyers and snatched up 200.1 billion won in shares.

The local stock market opened lower following overnight Wall Street losses. On Wednesday local time, U.S. stocks dropped, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average shedding 0.67 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index declining 0.22 percent. Large caps on the primary market closed on a mixed note with large-cap tech shares finishing in negative terrain.

“A wait-and-see stance is forecast ahead of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s testimony in Congress,” said Kim Byung-yeon, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities, noting that the Kospi was also affected by the negative impact of higher U.S. Treasury yields.

Samsung Electronics ended at 2,338,000 won, down 1.10 percent from the previous session’s close, continuing a four-day losing streak. Smaller rival LG Electronics lost 1.19 percent to 99,800 won, and global chipmaker SK Hynix also shed 1.3 percent to 75,900 won. Leading bio firm Celltrion was unchanged at 307,500 won. Samsung BioLogics, a biopharmaceutical affiliate of Samsung Group, jumped 4.24 percent to end at 443,000 won on the news of the construction of a new factory.

Auto shares had mixed fortunes, with Hyundai Motor backtracking 1.87 percent to 157,000 won and its sister company, Kia Motors, inching down 0.59 percent to 33,650 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis went up 0.67 percent to 224,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq fell 5.36 points, or 0.61 percent, to 870.22. The market entered negative terrain as foreigners became net sellers, influenced by weakened investor confidence in the United States. Pharmaceuticals were major losers, shedding 1.5 percent across sector. Celltrion Healthcare, a Celltrion subsidiary, dropped 1.42 percent to 125,300 won. The local currency closed at 1,084.3 won against the greenback, up 8.1 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds lost 0.3 basis points to 2.30 percent, while the return on 10-year government bonds climbed 0.2 basis points to 2.80 percent.

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