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Wall Street tech losses spread to Korean shares

Mar 29,2018
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Korean stocks closed lower on Wednesday, as investor sentiment was affected by Wall Street technology shares’ steep overnight losses.

The benchmark Kospi dropped 32.77 points, or 1.34 percent, to 2,419.29. Trade volume was high at 7.63 trillion won ($7.12 billion).

Analysts said Wednesday’s decline was caused by the losses from major U.S. tech shares that followed Facebook’s data leakage scandal and a weakened performance outlook for tech firms.

“In the United States, large tech and semiconductor shares, which have pushed up the market recently, led the decline,” said Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities. “This also became a burden for the Korean stock market.”

Foreigners sold net 247.5 billion won and institutions offloaded 31.8 billion won worth of shares. Individuals bought a net 276 billion won.

The banking sector was hit the hardest, shedding 4.2 percent. Pharmaceuticals and electronics declined by 3.8 and 2.3 percent each. Steel and other metal shares, which gained in the previous session following news of Korea’s exemption from U.S. tariffs, also fell by 2.2 percent.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics retreated 2.56 percent to 2,435,000 won and No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix also slipped 1.35 percent to 80,300 won. LG Electronics fell 2.24 percent to 109,000 won.

Pharmaceutical shares also dropped, with Celltrion plunging 2.53 percent to 289,500 won and Samsung BioLogics falling 7 percent to 465,000 won. Hanmi Pharmaceutical lost 1.36 percent to close at 509,000 won.

Korea’s top steelmaker Posco’s shares decreased by 3.04 percent to 335,000 won and Korea Zinc slid 0.52 percent to 481,000 won. Hyundai Steel declined by 2.29 percent to 51,200 won.

The tech-heavy Kosdaq also ended in negative territory, falling 7.87 points, or 0.92 percent, to 850.97 as investors sold large-cap pharmaceutical and semiconductor shares.

Institutions sold a net 43.6 billion won and foreigners offloaded 81.5 billion won, while individuals bought net 146.1 billion won.

The Kosdaq’s semiconductor stocks dropped by 1.5 percent.

Celltrion subsidiaries fell, with Celltrion Healthcare dropping 2.33 percent to 100,500 won and Celltrion Pharm falling 1.95 percent to 80,600 won.

The Korean won depreciated to 1,070.80 won against the U.S. dollar, up 0.5 won from the previous session.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds fell 1 basis point to 2.22 percent, and the return on 10-year government bonds fell 3.6 basis points to 2.64 percent.


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