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U.S.-Mexico deal causes Seoul stocks to rise

Aug 29,2018
Korea’s main bourse closed slightly higher Tuesday as investor sentiment was boosted by the trade agreement signed by the United States and Mexico. The Korean won appreciated against the greenback.

The benchmark Kospi rose 3.82 points, or 0.17 percent, to close at 2,303.12. Trading volume was light at 5.4 trillion won ($4.86 billion).

Analysts said Seoul shares closed higher for the eighth consecutive session following overnight news that the U.S. and Mexico reached an agreement on the revision of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or Nafta.

“The agreement between the U.S. and Mexico showed that global trade disputes, which have been hurdles for stock markets, can be eased down the road,” said Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities. “The move had a positive impact on investor sentiment.”

Seo, however, said the growth was limited as investors took profits on technology shares.

Foreigners bought more shares than they sold at net 142 billion won. Retail investors offloaded a net 162 billion won. Institutions sold a net 46 billion won.

Carmakers gained ground, with Hyundai Motor moving up 0.81 percent to 125,000 won and auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis increasing 0.43 percent to 231,000 won.

Retailers finished bullish, with Emart adding 4.98 percent to 221,500 won and Lotte Shopping moving up 2.51 percent at 184,000 won.

No. 1 steelmaker Posco moved up 1.69 percent to 330,500 won, and Korea Zinc climbed 1.82 percent to 418,500 won.

Tech shares closed mixed, with Samsung Electronics adding 0.54 percent to 46,550 won and No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix dropping 1.32 percent to 82,400 won. Samsung SDI slipped 1.29 percent to 230,000 won.

Pharmaceutical shares closed lower, with Celltrion falling 3.24 percent to 269,000 won and Samsung BioLogics decreasing 1.1 percent to 449,500 won. Hanmi Pharmaceutical shed 2.08 percent to 470,500 won.

The secondary Kosdaq fell 2.87 points, or 0.36 percent, to 798.17, ending three consecutive days of gains. The tech-heavy index closed lower on institutional and foreign selling despite the U.S. Nasdaq closing on an all-time high in the latest session.

The Korean won closed at 1,110.00 won against the U.S. dollar, down 3.80 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices ended mixed. The yield on three-year bonds moved up 0.2 basis points to 1.97 percent and the return on 10-year bonds fell 1.7 basis points to 2.35 percent.

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