+ A

Kospi tracks overnight losses on Wall Street

Mar 01,2018
Korean stocks ended lower Wednesday tracking losses on Wall Street with institutional investors as the main sellers.

The benchmark Kospi lost 28.78 points, or 1.17 percent from the previous day, to end the session at 2,427.36. Han Ji-young, an analyst at Cape Investment & Securities, said institutional investors offloaded large-cap stocks as their sentiment moved in sync with declines in the U.S. market.

Institutional investors dumped a net 261 billion won ($241.3 million) worth of shares, weighing on the main index. Foreign investors bought a net 143.7 billion won, while retail investors bought a net 107.5 billion won worth of stocks.

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.16 percent with the tech-heavy Nasdaq declining 1.23 percent.

The U.S. market fell as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s optimistic assessment of the world’s largest economy raised the possibility of speedier rate increases this year.

“My personal outlook for the economy has strengthened since December,” Powell told Congress on Tuesday when asked about his outlook for how quickly the Fed might tighten its monetary policy.

Powell’s comments were widely seen as hawkish and led to a decline in the U.S. market, said Park Chun-young at Daishin Securities.

Large-cap stocks were mixed across the board. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 0.68 percent to 2,353,000 won. Rival chipmaker SK Hynix declined 2.41 percent to end at 76,800 won.

Steel manufacturers led losses, falling 2.8 percent. Posco dropped 4.49 percent to 361,500 won while Hyundai Steel retreated 0.19 percent to 53,600 won.

Among gainers, Hyundai Motor rose 0.31 percent to 161,500 won, and Celltrion, a major biopharmaceutical company, gained 0.57 percent to close at 353,000 won.

The secondary index, the Kosdaq, dropped 16.95 points, or 1.94 percent from the previous day, to end the session at 857.06.

Institutional investors offloaded en masse, selling 132.8 billion won more than they bought. Foreign investors were also net sellers, shedding 33.9 billion won, while individual investors bought 179.2 billion won.

The local currency closed at 1,082.80 won against the U.S. dollar, up 11.50 won from the previous day.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended the day lower. The yield on three-year bonds rose 0.8 basis points to 2.27 percent, while returns on 10-year bonds gained 0.6 basis points to close at 2.74 percent.

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