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Tech and financial losses drag market down

Apr 04,2018
Korean stocks finished slightly lower Tuesday, dragged down by losses in tech and financial shares amid woes over possible regulations, analysts said. The Korean won rose to a more than three-year high against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi dropped 1.73 points, or 0.07 percent, to close at 2,442.43. Trade volume was moderate at 487.4 million shares worth 7.6 trillion won ($7.24 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 424 to 399.

The local stock market opened lower taking a cue from overnight losses on Wall Street and remained in negative terrain as investors pulled out money, mainly from the tech and financial sectors, amid looming regulations, according to analysts.

“A number of factors that could directly affect the business conditions and profits of the tech industry are present in early April,” Jeong Da-i, an analyst at Meritz Securities, said.

Foreigners and institutions dumped a net 96.6 billion won and 26.9 billion won worth of local stocks, respectively, while individual investors bought 129.6 billion won.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 0.87 percent to 2,406,000 won, and flat panel maker LG Display dropped 1.56 percent to close at 25,300 won. SK Hynix, a leading memory chipmaker, was up 0.62 percent to 81,800 won.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor added 2.36 percent to end at 152,000 won and its auto components affiliate Hyundai Mobis shot up 4.5 percent to 255,500 won.

Steel shares were also bearish, with leading steelmaker Posco moving down 0.76 percent to finish at 325,000 won.

Financial shares were weak. KB Financial Group declined 2.86 percent to 57,800 won, and Hana Financial Group nosedived 5.56 percent to end at 42,450 won after the country’s financial regulator said the previous day it found dozens of alleged hiring irregularities at KEB Hana Bank in 2013.

In contrast, cosmetics maker Amorepacific jumped 3.6 percent to 345,000 won amid growing hopes for an end to China’s economic restrictions on local firms over a missile defense dispute. LG Household & Healthcare also added 1.84 percent to 1,274,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,054.20 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2.4 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds fell 3.2 basis points to 2.193 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds decreased 2.1 basis points to 2.422 percent.

BY SEO JI-EUN, YONHAP [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]