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Kospi sees low for year as jitters seize markets

Oct 25,2018
Korea’s main stock index recorded another yearly low Wednesday for the second day in a row, falling under the 2,100 mark as global geopolitical concerns continued to worry investors. The Korean won appreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The Kospi started the trading session higher but ended at 2,097.58, falling 8.52 points or 0.40 percent. The index declined as low as 2,092.10 during the session.

Trading volume was moderate at 373.7 million shares worth 5.89 trillion won ($5.2 billion).

“A series of issues from home and abroad pressed on the index, from the U.S.-China trade war to political uncertainties stemming from Saudi Arabia, as well as sharp drops in local bio shares,” said Lee Kyoung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities.

Offshore investors continued the selloff on the main index for the fifth consecutive session, offloading a net 331.7 billion won worth of shares.

Individuals dumped a net 260.5 billion won, while institutions bought a net 580.9 billion won worth of stocks.

Market leader Samsung Electronics fell 1.16 percent to close at 42,550 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix plunged 3.47 percent to 66,700 won.

Pharmaceutical companies extended losses as Celltrion nosedived 8.52 percent to 225,500 won. Samsung’s biopharmaceutical unit Samsung BioLogics also fell 3.59 percent to 402,500 won.

Meanwhile, chemical companies rose after reports that the U.S. International Trade Commission decided not to issue anti-dumping duty on polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin imports from Korea. Lotte Chemical soared 6.45 percent to close at 272,500 won, while industry leader LG Chem edged 0.46 percent higher to 330,500 won.

Carmakers rebounded from Tuesday’s losses as Hyundai Motor rose 0.43 percent to 117,000 won, and sister company Kia Motors gained 1.23 percent to 28,700 won.

The secondary Kosdaq also started up but slid during the trading session, falling 19.70 points, or 2.74 percent, to end at 699.30.

The tech and bio-heavy index was dragged down by foreign investors selling IT-related shares and a 0.42 percent drop in the U.S. Nasdaq biotechnology index overnight.

The Korean won closed at 1,132.30 won, down 5.30 won, against the U.S. dollar from the last trading session.

Bond prices, which move inversely to bond yields, ended lower.

The yield on three-year bonds rose 1.8 basis points at 2.01 percent, and the return on 10-year bonds added 0.2 basis points at 2.31 percent.

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