+ A

Seoul stocks struggle as trade tensions linger

Sept 12,2018
Korea’s main bourse retreated Tuesday as investors remained cautious over lingering trade tension between the United States and China and rising uncertainties in emerging markets. The Korean won appreciated against the greenback.

The benchmark Kospi shed 5.46 points, or 0.24 percent, to close at 2,283.2. Trade volume was moderate at 5.7 trillion won ($5.06 billion).

Persistent trade friction between the world’s two biggest economies and rising volatility in emerging markets ahead of the Federal Reserve’s interest hike continued to dent the appetite for riskier assets.

“The risks in emerging markets, including Turkey and Argentina, could lead to capital outflow from the emerging market funds,” said Jeon Sang-yong, an analyst at Taurus Investment & Securities. “This also weighs down on the local stock market.”

The MSCI Emerging Market Index, which tracks market capitalization of emerging countries, fell to a 14-month low at the close of Monday’s session.

Foreigners offloaded a net 199.3 billion won and institutions shed 51.6 billion won worth of local stocks. Retail investors purchased a net 191.41 billion won to offset some of the losses.

Tech shares ended mixed. Market kingpin Samsung Electronics declined 0.99 percent to 45,050 won, while SK Hynix, a global chipmaker, inched up 0.13 percent to 76,600 won.

Auto shares dropped following a recent rally. Top automaker Hyundai Motor fell 2.29 percent to 128,000 won, and its parts maker Hyundai Mobis slipped 1.98 percent to 222,500 won.

Leading steelmaker Posco sank 3.95 percent to 292,000 won, and LG Chem, Korea’s largest chemical company, decreased 1.73 percent to 341,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq gained 4.07 points, or 0.50 percent, to 820.23. The bio and tech-heavy index closed in positive terrain, buoyed by a 1.1 percent incline of the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index and institutional and foreign buying of pharmaceutical and semiconductor shares.

Pharmaceutical shares closed mixed. No. 1 Celltrion Healthcare climbed 0.76 percent to 92,700 won, with competitors SillaJen dropping 0.26 percent to 76,200 won and Medytox falling 2.49 percent to 690,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,125.3 won against the U.S. dollar, down 3.1 won from Monday’s close.

Bond prices closed lower. The yield on three-year bonds added 0.5 basis points to 1.92 percent, and the return on 10-year bonds gained 1.5 basis points to 2.27 percent.

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