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Bullish tech companies boost Korean markets

Mar 31,2018
Korean stocks closed higher Friday on the back of bullish trading of tech shares following improved investor sentiment in the United States. The local currency appreciated against the greenback.

The benchmark Kospi advanced 9.48 points, or 0.39 percent, to 2,445.85. Trade volume was moderate at 6.37 trillion won ($5.98 billion).

“Eased concerns over a trade dispute [between the United States and China] and the rebound of tech shares led to the improvement of investor sentiment in the U.S. stock market,” Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities, said. “This lends support to the Korean market as well.”

Foreigners offloaded a net 171.7 billion won, with retail investors selling a net 108 billion won. Institutions bought more shares than they sold at net 289 billion won.

Market behemoth Samsung Electronics advanced 0.37 percent to 2,461,000 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix climbed 1.25 percent to 81,300 won. Samsung SDI also moved up 0.79 percent to 192,500 won, with LG Electronics increasing 0.46 percent to 109,500 won.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor was unchanged at 143,500 won, with its auto parts arm Hyundai Mobis dropping 5.71 percent to 239,500 won. Kia Motors moved down 2.67 percent to 31,000 won.

Pharmaceutical shares had a mixed day, with Celltrion falling 2.37 percent to 309,500 won, while Samsung BioLogics added 0.21 percent to 487,000 won. Hanmi Pharmaceutical slid 1.16 percent to 511,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq also rose 5.10 points, or 0.59 percent, to 871.09. A 1.6 percent rally on the U.S. Nasdaq and strong tech shares weighed on the tech-heavy market’s incline.

Foreigners and institutions were net buyers, purchasing a net 7.5 billion won and 26 billion won each. Individuals sold a net 3.9 billion won.

Pharmaceutical shares ended mixed in the Kosdaq as well. Celltrion subsidiaries, Celltrion Healthcare and Celltrion Pharm ended lower, falling 1.02 percent to 106,500 won and 0.47 percent to 84,300 won each. Viromed, another leading bio player, gained 1.76 percent to 224,900 won.

IT and software shares rose. Game maker Pearl Abyss spiked up 5 percent to 226,700 won while e-commerce platform Cafe24 soared 7.41 percent to 127,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,063.50 won against the U.S. dollar, down 2.4 won from the previous session.

Bond prices ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds fell 1.1 basis points to 2.22 percent, and the return on 10-year government bonds decreased 1.8 basis points to 2.62 percent.

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