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Stocks tumble over fears of U.S.-led trade war

Mar 06,2018
Korean stocks tumbled on Monday as investor sentiment was knocked by fears of a global trade war. The Korean won depreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi fell 27.1 points, or 1.13 percent, to close at 2,375.06. Trade volume was moderate at 5.66 trillion won ($5.23 billion).

Foreigners and institutions sold a net 99.3 billion won and 212.6 billion won each. Individuals were net buyers, purchasing 320 billion won worth of stocks.

The main bourse opened lower as investors continued to worry about the impact of U.S. tariffs on the global economy.

Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities, said the possibility of a trade war was raised on concerns that U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum products would lead to retaliatory tariffs by China, the European Union and Canada.

Also, the American tariff measures were likely to signal the rise of inflationary pressure in the U.S., Seo said.

Securities, banks and chemical shares were hit the hardest. KB Financial, a major banking group, fell 2.05 percent to 62,200 won. Lotte Chemical shed 4.74 percent to 452,000 won.

Large-cap shares declined across the board.

Samsung Electronics fell 1.78 percent to end at 2,260,000 won, while SK Hynix, a global chipmaker, inched up 1.16 percent to 78,300 won.

Naver, the operator of the country’s top Internet portal, shed 0.89 percent to 779,000 won.

Leading auto maker Hyundai Motor was down 1.92 percent to 153,000 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors fell 0.3 percent to 33,400 won.

The secondary Kosdaq also closed lower, shedding 15.23 points, or 1.77 percent, to 845.00. The session started off moving upwards, influenced by strong bio shares in the U.S. Nasdaq, but ended in negative terrain as IT stocks were sold en masse.

Institutions were net sellers, offloading 5.6 billion won. Foreigners and individuals bought more than they sold, purchasing a net 10.7 billion won and 36.4 billion won each.

Game developers were major losers. Pearl Abyss plunged 7.71 percent to 262,300 won. Netmarble dropped 4.67 percent to 143,000 won and Com2us shed 4 percent to 155,900 won.

The local currency closed at 1,082.00 won against the U.S. dollar, up 1.7 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year bonds gained 2.1 basis points to 2.31 percent, and the return on 10-year government bonds dropped 0.4 basis points to 2.74 percent.

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