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Institutional sell-off drags Seoul stocks down

July 05,2018
Korea’s main index lost ground Wednesday as institutional investors offloaded large-cap stocks amid lingering concerns of a trade war between the U.S. and China. The won appreciated against the dollar.

The benchmark Kospi lost 7.30 points, or 0.32 percent, to 2,265.46. Trade volume was moderate at 4.8 trillion won ($4.3 billion).

The main index began on an upward trend buoyed by large foreign buying, but ended lower as institutions offloaded large-cap shares en masse.

Institutions sold a net 153 billion won worth of stocks. Foreign investors purchased a net 1 billion won while individuals bought a net 129 billion won worth of local stocks, keeping the index from falling further.

“Investors are wary of China and the United States imposing tariffs on each other’s products,” said Han Ji-young, an analyst at Cape Investment & Securities.

Large-cap stocks saw mixed trade across the board.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 0.22 percent to 46,250 won, and Korea’s No. 1 online portal operator Naver went up 2.81 percent to 768,000 won.

Among decliners, No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix fell 1.28 percent to 85,000 won, and top carmaker Hyundai Motor shed 2.05 percent to 119,500 won.

Asiana Airlines shed 0.12 percent to 4,015 won, ending lower for three consecutive sessions as many of its planes continued taking off without meals since a new caterer began supplying the airline with meals from July 1.

The secondary Kosdaq made a modest gain of 3.39 points, or 0.43 percent, to 799.10. The tech-heavy index ended in positive terrain from strong pharmaceutical shares despite institutional and foreign selling.

Institutions sold a net 0.1 billion won while foreigners offloaded a net 17.4 billion won. Individuals bought a net 17.2 billion won of shares.

Pharmaceuticals shares rose 2.8 percent across sector. Despite industry leader Celltrion Healthcare’s 4.75 percent decline down to 102,200 won, rivals SillaJen climbed 1.62 percent to 69,000 won while Medytox rose 1.12 percent to 800,900 won.

TV broadcast and transport shares also closed higher, rising 2.1 percent and 1.8 percent.

The local currency closed at 1,114.50 won against the U.S. dollar, down 4.20 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds fell 2.2 basis points to 2.2 percent, and the return on 10-year government bonds shed 3.0 basis points to 2.55 percent.

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