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Kospi closes flat despite tech, pharma losses

May 15,2018
Korea’s main bourse closed nearly flat Monday mainly due to losses from technology and pharmaceutical shares, though the rising hope over reconciliation between the two Koreas limited the fall. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi edged down 1.6 points, or 0.06 percent, to 2,476.11. Trade volume was moderate at 9.41 trillion won ($8.81 billion).

Major technology and pharmaceutical shares lost ground throughout the session, although steelmakers and construction closed on a bullish note.

Analysts said Monday’s decrease did not necessarily mean that Korean stocks would continue to tumble.

“Due to the stable U.S. stock market and favorable North Korea-related issues, the Kospi will maintain growth down the road,” said Kim Byong-yeon, a researcher at NH Investment & Securities.

Foreigners sold a net 89.6 billion won, with retail investors offloading a net 99.5 billion won. Institutions bought more shares than they sold at 162.8 billion won.

Market behemoth Samsung Electronics decreased 2.34 percent to 50,100 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix shed 0.81 percent to end at 85,400 won. LG Electronics also moved down 0.2 percent to 97,500 won.

Pharmaceutical shares were among major losers, with Samsung BioLogics dropping 4.66 percent to 368,500 won amid allegations over fraudulent accounting.

Steelmakers gained ground, with No. 1 Posco adding 3.63 percent at 371,000 won. Hyundai Steel also jumped 4.89 percent to 68,700 won.

Construction also closed higher, with Hyundai Engineering & Construction jumping 13.82 percent to 73,300 won and GS Engineering & Construction hiking 7.22 percent to 46,750 won.

The secondary Kosdaq also ended in negative terrain, dropping 7.23 points, or 0.83 percent, to 858.70. The tech-heavy index fell as investors embarked on profit-taking after three consecutive sessions of gains.

Institutions and foreigners each offloaded 62.1 billion won and 47.7 billion won. Individuals were net buyers, purchasing 131.8 billion won more than they sold.

By sector, pharmaceuticals declined 3.1 percent while semiconductors dropped 1.1 percent.

The local currency closed at 1,068.00 won against the U.S. dollar, down 1.3 won from the previous session.

Bond prices ended lower. The yield on three-year bonds gained 2.3 basis points to 2.31 percent, and the return on 10-year government bonds rose 1.0 basis points to 2.80 percent.

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