+ A

Kospi flat as investors wait to hear from Fed

Oct 17,2018
Korea’s main index remained unchanged Tuesday as global trade tensions lingered and investors awaited meeting minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve due Wednesday. The Korean won appreciated against the U.S. dollar.

Although the benchmark Kospi started higher, it ended at Monday’s level at 2,145.12.

Trading volume was low at 215.1 million shares worth 3.81 trillion won ($3.37 billion).

“Investors seem to remain on the edge ahead of the U.S. interest rate hike and concerns over geopolitical uncertainties in the Middle East,” said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities.

Foreigners sold a net 65.9 billion won and institutions offloaded 126.89 billion won worth of local stocks in the benchmark index while retail investors scooped up a net 181.79 billion won to moderate the losses.

Tech shares backtracked after U.S. rivals retreated the previous day on worries over their earnings.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics edged down 0.46 percent to 43,600 won, and major chipmaker SK Hynix fell 0.85 percent to 69,700 won.

Refiners fell as Iran’s crude exports dropped further ahead of U.S. sanctions against Tehran in November, while diplomatic disputes over a missing Saudi journalist also threaten to spill over into the market.

SK Innovation, the country’s largest refiner, lost 0.70 percent to 213,500 won.

In contrast, auto shares rebounded from recent losses.

Industry leader Hyundai Motor gained 2.64 percent to 116,500 won, and its sister company Kia Motors moved up 0.64 percent to 31,300 won, after sinking nearly 7 percent the previous session.

Pharmaceutical shares also ended up after Monday’s fall.

Celltrion edged up 0.19 percent to close at 262,000 won, and Samsung’s bio-pharmaceutical unit Samsung BioLogics closed up 0.54 percent at 467,500 won.

Meanwhile, secondary Kosdaq was up 12.63 points, or 1.76 percent, closing at 731.50. The tech and bio-heavy index rose as foreigners and institutional investors turned to net buyers after Monday’s selloff. Pharmaceutical, IT and semiconductor shares also recovered.

The Korean won closed at 1,128.00 won against the U.S. dollar, down 6.30 won.

Bond prices ended mixed. The yield on three-year bonds was down 0.3 basis points at 2.05 percent, and the return on 10-year bonds was unchanged at 2.38 percent.

BY CHAE YUN-HWAN, YONHAP [chae.yunhwan@joongang.co.kr]