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Kospi inches down as investors seek profits

May 25,2018
Seoul shares ended lower Thursday as investors offloaded technology and auto stocks on profit taking. The Korean won appreciated against the dollar.

The benchmark Kospi fell 5.90 points, or 0.24 percent, to 2,466.01. Trade volume was heavy at 6.67 trillion won ($6.2 billion).

Institutions dumped 204.3 billion worth of stocks. Foreigners bought a net 32.1 billion won while individuals purchased a net 85.7 billion won.

The session opened higher on strong U.S. stocks after minutes released from the latest U.S. Federal Open Market Committee meeting signaled a rate hike in June, but declined on news of possible U.S. tariffs against car imports.

“Carmakers fell sharply following reports that the U.S. government is considering imposing 25 percent tariffs on imported vehicles. Construction stocks declined as North Korea threatened to walk away from the planned summit with the United States [on June 12 in Singapore],” Kiwoom Securities analyst Suh Sang-young said.

Declines in technology stocks also weighed on the main index, with market bellwether Samsung Electronics falling 0.77 percent to 51,400 won and No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix declining 0.73 percent to 94,600 won.

Top carmaker Hyundai Motor plunged 3.11 percent to 140,000 won, its affiliate Kia Motors declined 2.82 percent to 32,700 won and Samsung C&T, the construction unit of Samsung, shed 0.77 percent to 129,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq gained 4.16 points, or 0.48 percent, to 873.32. Buoyed by the 0.5 percent incline of the U.S. Nasdaq Biotech index, it ended in positive terrain with pharmaceutical shares leading the gains.

Pharmaceutical shares rose 2.1 percent across sector. Celltrion Healthcare climbed 1.88 percent to 92,000 won, while affiliate Celltrion Pharm gained 3.04 percent to 91,500 won. Other major industry players also won, with SillaJen jumping 8.06 percent to 80,400 won and Medytox adding 5.75 percent to 702,300 won.

Institutions bought a net 15.3 billion won while foreigners purchased a net 101.2 billion won. Individuals offloaded a net 110.7 billion won.

The local currency closed at 1,079.60 won against the U.S. dollar, down 1.10 won from the previous session.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds fell 4.4 basis points to 2.19 percent, and the return on 10-year government bonds also declined 2.7 basis points to 2.72 percent.

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