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Q1 earnings help give Korean markets a boost

Apr 10,2018
Korean stocks closed higher Monday as institutions scooped up local shares with upbeat first-quarter earnings prospects amid lingering uncertainties over rising trade disputes between the United States and China. The Korean won appreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi scored 14.5 points, or 0.6 percent, to close at 2,444.08. Trade volume was moderate at 6.53 trillion won ($6.11 billion).

The index started on a weak note following Wall Street losses on Friday, but rebounded later on as institutions bought market heavyweights ahead of quarterly earnings releases.

Trade remained an unsettling factor in the market as U.S. President Donald Trump continued to ratchet up his rhetoric against China just days before Chinese President Xi Jinping was to give a speech in the upcoming Boao Forum.

“Traders remained guarded against rising uncertainties over the U.S. economic policy,” Oh Tae-dong, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities, said.

Institutions bought a net 117.0 billion won worth of local stocks, while foreigners and retail investors offloaded a net 59.1 billion won and 56.1 billion won, respectively.

Market behemoth Samsung Electronics advanced 1.65 percent to 2,460,000 won, and SK Hynix, a global chipmaker, went up 0.37 percent to 80,600 won.

Celltrion, a major pharmaceutical firm, rose 4.79 percent to 306,000 won, and Samsung Biologics, Samsung’s healthcare unit, jumped 8.29 percent to 562,000 won.

Construction shares also gained 4.1 percent across sector. GS Engineering & Construction skyrocketed 14.99 percent to 33,750 won.

Samsung Securities dropped 3 percent to 37,200 won as the nation’s financial regulator said it will investigate the securities firm over mistakenly paying its stocks as dividends to its employees late last week.

The secondary Kosdaq gained 6.48 points, or 0.75 percent, to 874.44. The tech-heavy index was buoyed by strong shares of Celltrion subsidiaries.

Foreigners and individuals bought a net 1.8 billion won and 33.0 billion won each. Institutions offloaded a net 6.6 billion won.

The local currency ended at 1,067.1 won against the greenback, down 2.5 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended lower. The yield on three-year bonds gained 1.1 basis points to 2.17 percent, and the return on 10-year government bonds rose 0.6 basis points to 2.61 percent.

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