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Optimism over outlook for chips boosts Kospi

Mar 14,2018
Korean stocks edged up Tuesday as a positive outlook for the global semiconductor market pushed up tech shares. The local currency lost ground against the U.S. dollar for the first time in three trading days.

The benchmark Kospi rose 10.37 points, or 0.42 percent, to close at 2,494.49. Trade volume was moderate at 7.71 trillion won ($7.22 billion).

Foreigners led the increase, scooping up a net 581.6 billion won worth of local shares. Institutions and individuals were net sellers, offloading 263.8 billion won and 309.6 billion won each.

“The recent rosy forecast for the world chip market boosted optimism on Korean stocks, which have been led by semiconductor shares,” analyst Seo Sang-young from Kiwoom Securities said. “Also, shares in Korean parts suppliers to Apple rose ahead of the release of a new iPhone later in the year.”

The increase was offset to some extent by profit-taking by individuals and institutions following the index’s 1 percent rally on Monday, he added.

Tech shares were the biggest winners. Samsung Electronics, the world’s biggest chipmaker, jumped 3.86 percent to 2,583,000 won, and runner-up SK Hynix soared 6.01 percent to reach a record high of 90,000 won.

Naver, the country’s No. 1 online portal operator, rose 1.74 percent to 820,000 won. Kakao gained 4.07 percent to 140,500 won.

Biotech shares finished lower, with industry leader Celltrion slumping 3.42 percent to 311,000 won and Samsung BioLogics skidding 1.2 percent to 453,000 won.

Dongkuk Steel Mill fell 0.49 percent to 10,200 won and Korea Zinc lost 1.21 percent to 489,500 won, affected by the U.S. government’s push for tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

The secondary Kosdaq also enjoyed a modest gain of 1.98 points, or 0.22 percent, to 886.25. Large institutional buying on IT shares weighed on the tech-heavy market’s incline.

Institutions were net buyers, purchasing 60.1 billion won. Foreigners bought a net 0.6 billion won while individuals sold a net 39.3 billion won.

Semiconductors and IT gained. Soulbrain, a semiconductor company, jumped 4.96 percent to 63,500 won. Telcon, a cable manufacturer, spiked 8.40 percent to 13,550 won.

The local currency rose 2.3 won to close at 1,067.5 won against the U.S. dollar, depreciating for the first time since last Thursday.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year bonds lost 0.4 basis points to 2.30 percent, and the return on 10-year government bonds dipped 1.3 basis points to 2.75 percent.

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