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Markets inch up but investors remain cautious

Apr 17,2018
Korean stocks edged up slightly Monday as investors took to the sidelines amid lingering concerns over Syria and the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute. The Korean won depreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi gained 2.42 points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 2,457.49. Trade volume was slim at 6.08 trillion won ($5.66 billion).

The market experienced choppy trading in the backdrop of geopolitical tensions.

“Tensions over the Syria incident can negatively affect the global economy by pushing up oil prices, among others. Investors appear to be cautious while waiting for responses from Wall Street,” said Kang Hyun-chul, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities.

On Saturday, the United States, along with Britain and France, launched air strikes on Syria, as Damascus allegedly committed a deadly chemical attack against civilians. Russia is siding with Syria.

Later this week, the White House is also expected to announce the list of Chinese products that will face punitive tariffs.

Individuals bought a net 62.7 billion won worth of local stocks, offsetting the selling by foreign investors and institutions, who each offloaded a net 38.6 billion won and 12.0 billion won.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics moved up 1.08 percent to 2,517,000 won, and top carmaker Hyundai Motor surged 1.66 percent to 153,000 won.

Korean Air, Korea’s No. 1 airline, tumbled 2.5 percent to 33,100 won, as a police probe is underway into suspicions that senior executive Cho Hyun-min hurled water at an advertising firm employee last month.

The secondary Kosdaq climbed 5.02 points, or 0.56 percent, to 896.89. The tech-heavy index ended in positive terrain with strong IT shares, buoyed by investor optimism in the recently-established Kosdaq Venture Funds.

Foreigners and individuals were net buyers, each purchasing 45.3 billion won and 19.9 billion won. Institutions sold a net 42.9 billion won.

Broadcast service shares rose. Entertainment giant CJ E&M climbed 3.24 percent to 95,600 won, while its drama production affiliate Studio Dragon rose 2.69 percent to reach 95,600 won as well.

The local currency closed at 1,074 won against the U.S. dollar, up 4.5 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices ended lower. The yield on three-year bonds rose 1.4 basis points to 2.17 percent, while the return on 10-year government bonds rose 2.2 basis points to 2.63 percent.

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