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Eased global trade tensions boost Seoul stocks

Nov 16,2018
Korean shares ended higher Thursday as institutional investors bought large-cap shares amid eased U.S.-China trade tensions. The Korean won appreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi rose after four consecutive sessions of losses. The index fluctuated between positive and negative territory earlier in the session before rising, ending 20.01 points or 0.97 percent up at 2,088.06.

Trading volume was moderate at 346.71 million shares worth 4.63 trillion won ($4.10 billion).

“Expectations for eased trade friction between the United States and China ahead of the summit meeting slated for Nov. 29 have affected the local stock market in a generally positive way,” said Lee Young-gon, an analyst at Hana Financial Investment.

Institutional investors were net buyers, picking up a net 272.2 billion won worth of shares. Foreign investors were net sellers for the third consecutive session, dumping a net 169.5 billion won. Retail investors also sold a net 101.5 billion won worth of shares.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics added 0.34 percent to 44,250 won, and No.2 chipmaker SK Hynix rose 1.99 percent to 71,800 won.

Pharmaceutical shares also rose as Celltrion soared 5.05 percent to 218,500 won.

Leading steelmaker Posco advanced 1.61 percent to 253,000 won.

Carmakers ended up with Hyundai Motor rising 1.48 percent to 103,000 won, and sister company Kia Motors closing 3.45 percent higher at 29,950 won.

Refiners recovered from the previous trading session’s losses as industry leader SK Innovation rose 1.29 percent to 196,000 won, and S-Oil ended 3.27 percent higher to 110,500 won.

After Wednesday’s decision by the Financial Services Commission that suspended trading of Samsung BioLogics shares for committing accounting fraud, Samsung affiliate Samsung C&T fell 2.37 percent to 103,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq rose 9.82 points, or 1.46 percent, to end the session at 681.38. The tech and bio-heavy index was helped by a 0.36 percent rise in the U.S. Philadelphia Semiconductor Index overnight. Institutional investors were net sellers in the junior index for the twelfth consecutive session.

The Korean won closed at 1,129.20 won against the greenback down 5.10 won from the last session.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended lower. The yield on three-year bonds rose 2.1 basis points to 1.94 percent. The return on 10-year bonds added 3.6 basis points to 2.23 percent.

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