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Market is flat with no big news to drive it

June 26,2018
Korean stocks closed nearly flat Monday as gains from chemical and steelmaking shares offset losses from chips. The local currency depreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi edged up 0.66 points, or 0.03 percent, to close at 2,357.88.

Trade volume was moderate at 5.56 trillion won ($4.97 billion).

Foreign investors offloaded a net 112.4 billion won, while institutions purchased a net 100 billion won and individuals bought a net 11.4 billion won worth of shares.

“There are no big issues at home or abroad that can drag down or push up the index today,” said analyst Kim Yong-gu from Hana Financial Investment. “Investors are focusing on small issues of each company. They are now concerned that the possible slowing of DRAM prices are affecting shares of SK Hynix.”

SK Hynix, a leading chipmaker, tumbled 5.25 percent to 84,800 won as investors worried about a possible slowdown in DRAM memory chip prices in the coming months hurting profits.

Top cap Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer, also finished 1.27 percent lower at 46,650 won.

Insurance companies went south as well, as leading insurer Samsung Life Insurance fell 0.5 percent to 100,000 won, and Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance dipped 2.06 percent to 35,650 won.

However, LG Chem, Korea’s biggest chemicals firm, rose 2.33 percent to 351,000 won, and Hanwha Chemical increased 3.15 percent to 22,900 won.

Top steelmaker Posco moved up 3.06 percent to 354,000 won after its board finally narrowed its field of candidates for the Posco chairmanship down to one over the weekend. Korea Zinc gained 3.7 percent to 392,000 won.

Convenience stores were strong as the ongoing 2018 FIFA World Cup matches led to stellar sales of beer and snacks. BGF Retail, which operates the No. 1 chain CU, rose 1.02 percent to 197,500 won, and GS Retail gained 0.12 percent to 42,300 won.

The secondary Kosdaq gained 5.73 points, or 0.69 percent, to 836.00. The tech-heavy market was buoyed by large foreign buying as well as strong pharmaceutical shares.

The local currency finished at 1,117.2 won against the U.S. dollar, up 9.8 won from the previous close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds retreated 0.4 basis points to 2.14 percent, and the return on 10-year bonds fell 0.3 points to 2.61 percent.

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