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Kospi inches down as global tensions mount

Apr 12,2018
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The main Korean bourse closed lower Wednesday as concerns over strained trade ties between the United States and China, as well as escalating tension in Syria, sapped appetites for risky assets. The Korean won appreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi shed 6.52 points, or 0.27 percent, to close at 2,444.22. Trade volume was moderate at 6.77 trillion won ($6.35 billion).

The index started higher after Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday renewed his pledge to open markets further for trade and investment, but retreated in later trades with a lack of upward momentum. Traders also weighed a possible U.S. military strike on Syria, which could affect oil prices.

“Concerns over a possible trade war have abated somewhat following Xi’s speech, but it would take considerable time for the two sides to reach a compromise on thorny issues,” said Cho Byung-hyun, an analyst at Yuanta Securities Korea. “Investors remain jittery over lingering uncertainties over trade and geopolitical risks in the Middle East.”

Institutions sold a net 98.0 billion won, while retail investors and foreigners each bought a net 198.1 billion won and 464.5 billion won.

Tech heavyweights were mixed.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics inched down 0.04 percent to 2,443,000 won, while global chipmaker SK Hynix gained 1 percent to 81,200 won.

Cosmetic shares were down, with industry leader Amorepacific dropping 2.05 percent to 335,000 won and LG Household & Healthcare decreasing 2.99 percent to 1,266,000 won.

Samsung BioLogics, Samsung’s health care unit, edged up 0.17 percent to 584,000 won after it recently emerged as the third-largest player on the country’s main bourse.

The secondary Kosdaq gained 8.08 points, or 0.92 percent, to 885.38. Positive investment outlook on semiconductors lifted up the tech-heavy index to end in positive terrain for the third consecutive session.

Foreigners bought a net 50.2 billion won, while individuals and institutions offloaded a net 6.9 billion won and 38.3 billion each.

By sector, semiconductors gained 2.5 percent. IT parts and software increased 1.8 percent and 1.5 percent each.

The local currency closed at 1,066.3 won against the U.S. dollar, down 0.1 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds fell 2 basis points to 2.17 percent, and the return on 10-year government bonds decreased 2.6 basis points to 2.60 percent.


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