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Trade war fears continue to hurt local stocks

Apr 07,2018
Seoul stocks finished lower Friday as investor sentiment weakened after the U.S. President Donald Trump reignited fears over a trade war with China.

The Korean won depreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi fell 7.94 points, or 0.33 percent, to close at 2,429.58. Trade volume was moderate at 6.9 trillion won ($6.45 billion).

The local market opened lower after Trump ordered his administration to review $100 billion in additional tariffs on Chinese imports and remained in negative terrain as Beijing responded by saying that it is ready to pay “any cost” in a possible trade war with Washington.

“Considering the planned hearing over the issue on May 15 and the preceding or subsequent procedures, the volatility stemming from the trade dispute is likely to continue for some time,” said Jeong Won-il, an analyst at Yuanta Securities Korea.

Foreigners sold a net 238 billion won worth of local stocks, while individuals and institutions each bought net 207 billion won and 20 billion won.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics declined 0.7 percent to close at 2,420,000 won, despite its record-breaking quarterly profit.

The tech giant’s operating profit was at 15.6 trillion won for the January-March period, above the market estimate and a 3 percent rise from the previous quarter.

Other large cap shares saw mixed trade, with SK Hynix, a major chipmaker, declining 3.14 percent to finish at 80,300 won.

LG Electronics jumped 5.71 percent to 111,000 won after it released its first-quarter earnings above the market’s estimate.

The company logged 1.1 trillion won in operating profit during the first three months of this year, up 20.2 percent year-on-year.

Korea’s automakers also fell after losing 0.97 percent to close at 152,500 won.

Samsung Biologics saw its share price increase 3.39 percent at 519,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq declined 0.97 points, or 0.11 percent, to 867.96. Foreigners and institutions were net sellers, each offloading 23.5 billion won and 15.5 billion won. Individuals bought a net 64.5 billion won.

The local currency ended at 1,069.60 won against the greenback, up 9.9 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds fell 1.9 basis points to 2.16 percent, and the return on 10-year government bonds decreased 2.6 basis points to 2.61 percent.

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