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Global trade friction takes toll on the market

June 27,2018
Korean stocks edged down Tuesday as fears over escalating trade tensions among major economies dampened investor sentiment. The Korean won gained against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi declined 6.96 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 2,350.92. Trade volume was moderate at 463.1 million shares worth 6.45 trillion won ($5.78 billion), with decliners outnumbering gainers 573 to 253. The secondary Kosdaq slid 4.6 points, or 0.55 percent, to end at 831.4.

The index started sharply lower to lose 1.33 percent in the morning as trade disputes battered U.S. stocks overnight. But institutions turned into net buyers to ease the losses in the afternoon.

“Foreigners sold stocks as they sought safer assets amid rising uncertainties over possible trade rows between the United States and other economies, like China and Europe,” said Cho Byung-hyun, an analyst from Yuanta Securities Korea. “But in the afternoon, investors thought it was time to buy cheaper stocks.”

Offshore investors dumped a net 347.7 billion won worth of local shares, while institutions and individuals scooped up a net 215.9 billion won and 119.7 billion won, respectively.

Weak tech shares led the decline, with SK Hynix, the country’s second-largest memory chipmaker, falling 0.59 percent to 84,300 won and LG Electronics losing 1.29 percent to 83,900 won. Top cap Samsung Electronics rebounded 0.75 percent to 47,000 won and top portal operator Naver lost 1.74 percent to 735,000 won.

LG Display slumped 3.19 percent to 18,200 won on a gloomy forecast of second-quarter earnings.

Leading steelmaker Posco tumbled 3.39 percent to 342,000 won, and Hyundai Steel slid 2.82 percent to 55,200 won.

No. 1 automaker Hyundai Motor gained 0.39 percent to 129,500 won and Hyundai Mobis, an auto parts unit of Hyundai Motor Group, rose 0.93 percent to 218,000 won.

Celltrion advanced 1.69 percent to 301,000 won, whereas Samsung BioLogics closed 1.07 percent lower at 416,000 won.

S-Oil surged 2.68 percent to 115,000 won on an upbeat forecast that the oil refiner posted an earnings surprise in the second quarter.

The Korean currency finished at 1,114.8 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2.4 won from the previous close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended lower. The yield on three-year Treasuries moved up 0.5 basis point to 2.148 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds reached 2.403 percent, up 0.4 basis point from a day earlier.

BY SEO JI-EUN, YONHAP [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]