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Kospi ends higher on strong U.S. jobs report

June 05,2018
Korea’s main index ended higher Monday after an upbeat U.S. jobs report and revived hopes for a U.S.-North Korea summit boosted investor sentiment. The Korean won appreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi added 8.8 points, or 0.36 percent, to finish at 2,447.76. Trade volume was moderate at 7.56 trillion won ($7.07 billion).

Local stocks rose, as a strong U.S. job report bolstered optimism in the world’s largest economy, though investors remain concerned about the possible impact of a trade war between the United States and China.

“Signs of recovery in the U.S. economy and hopes for a gradual interest rate hike are positive factors for Korean stocks,” said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities. “Investors are also wary of trade disputes between the United States and China, as the latest round of trade talks ended without a settlement.”

Foreigners scooped up a net 18.4 billion won in stocks while institutions bought a net 55 billion won. Retail investors dumped 91.9 billion won worth of shares more than they bought.

Shares related to North Korea increased on hopes for a revival of cross-border projects as preparations continued for U.S. President Donald Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore.

Korea’s top steelmaker Posco rose 3.83 percent to 352,500 won, and train manufacturer Hyundai Rotem gained 0.75 percent to 40,550 won.

Auto shares also traded higher, with leading carmaker Hyundai Motor advancing 2.14 percent to 143,000 won and sister company Kia Motors jumping 5.8 percent to 33,750 won.

Tech firms slumped after Chinese media reported that Beijing was investigating Chinese branch offices of Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix amid rising prices for semiconductor memory chips.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics fell 0.39 percent to 51,100 won, and SK Hynix, a major chipmaker, retreated 1.75 percent to 89,800 won.

The secondary Kosdaq lost 5.78 points, or 0.65 percent, to 877.44. The tech-heavy index ended in negative terrain as biopharmaceutical shares closed lower, dragged down by the ongoing controversy surrounding Samsung BioLogics’ alleged accounting fraud.

Institutions sold a net 59.6 billion won while foreigners offloaded a net 56.1 billion won. Individuals bought a net 133.6 billion won, preventing the index from falling further.

The Korean won closed at 1,071.9 won against the U.S. dollar, down 3.1 won from the previous session’s close.

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