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Threat of U.S.-China trade war shakes market

Apr 05,2018
Korean stocks closed lower on Wednesday due to massive blue-chip selling amid growing concerns over a war of import tariffs between the United States and China. The Korean won depreciated against the dollar.

The benchmark Kospi fell 34.37 points, or 1.41 percent, to close at 2,408.06. Trade volume was high at 7.8 trillion won ($7.3 billion).

The main bourse was dragged down by losses in heavyweight tech shares, and went further south as investors offloaded more shares than they bought.

“Investment sentiment seems to have weakened amid rising volatility in the global market and a number of unfolding events, including the trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies,” said Kim Sung-hwan, an analyst at Bookook Securities.

Institutions and foreigners sold a net 345.4 billion won and 198.5 billion won worth of local stocks, while individuals bought 524.4 billion won.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics dropped 2.49 percent to close at 2,346,000 won, and SK Hynix, a major chipmaker, was down 1.71 percent to 80,400 won.

Steelmaker Posco fell 2.31 percent to 317,500 won, and leading chemical company LG Chem declined 0.66 percent to close at 376,000 won.

Naver, the top portal operator, plunged 3.95 percent to 754,000 won, and Netmarble Games, the top mobile game maker, tumbled 7.86 percent to close at 146,500 won.

Hyundai Motor, the country’s No. 1 carmaker, jumped 2.96 percent at 156,500 won after U.S. activist hedge fund Elliott Advisors announced that it has acquired more than $1 billion worth of stocks in three major affiliates of Hyundai Motor Group.

The auto giant’s smaller affiliate Kia Motors rose 2.52 percent to 32,550 won, and auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis advanced 3.52 percent to finish at 264,500 won.

The secondary Kosdaq fell 9.81 points, or 1.12 percent, to 862.51. The tech-heavy market closed lower as institutions and foreigners shed large-cap IT and semiconductor shares.

Game developers took the greatest hit, falling 3.2 percent across sector. DoubleUGames plunged 6.62 percent to 66,300 won, while Com2uS inched down 0.51 percent to 175,600 won.

The local currency closed at 1,059.80 won against the greenback, up 5.6 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds fell 2.5 basis points to 2.17 percent, and the return on 10-year government bonds decreased 1.7 basis points to 2.62 percent.

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