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Foreign, institutional sellers pull Kospi down

Nov 23,2018
Korean shares dipped Thursday as investors sat on the sidelines amid high market uncertainty. The Korean won appreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi inched 6.60 points, or 0.32 percent, down to close at 2,069.95. Trading volume was light at 237.0 million shares worth 3.98 trillion won ($3.52 billion).

“Investors are taking a wait-and-see stance as there are not many big events left in 2018 that can affect the market,” said Lee Hyung-ryul from Kyobo Securities. “Without significant external movers, they are very cautious when betting their money.”

Foreign investors were net sellers for the eighth consecutive session, offloading a net 43.6 billion won worth of shares. Institutional investors turned net sellers after eight consecutive sessions of buying, selling a net 100.3 billion won. Individual investors bought a net 142.4 billion won worth of shares.

Large-cap shares ended mixed.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 0.83 percent to 42,450 won, and No.2 SK Hynix added 1.76 percent to 69,300 won.

Telecommunications shares closed the session higher, with SK Telecom rising 2.32 percent to 286,500 won, and LG U+ advancing 0.94 percent to 16,100 won.

Gaming companies also rose as NCSoft ended 0.74 percent up to 479,000 won, and Netmarble added 2.09 percent to 122,000 won.

Pharmaceutical giant Celltrion ended 0.89 percent lower to 223,000 won.

Carmakers tumbled in light of reports that U.S. prosecutors were investigating recalls conducted by Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors. Hyundai Motor dropped 5.11 percent to 92,800 won, and its sister company Kia Motors sank 5.01 percent to 27,500 won.

Leading steelmaker Posco edged 0.20 percent down to 254,000 won.

Oil refineries closed mixed on a sharp drop in crude prices the previous day. Industry leader SK Innovation rose 0.98 percent to 205,500 won.

The secondary Kosdaq also ended down, falling 3.33 points, or 0.48 percent, to 692.39. Despite a 0.42 percent rise in the U.S. Philadelphia Semiconductor Index overnight, the tech and bio-heavy index fell as foreigners turned net sellers, and institutional investors offloaded shares for the seventeenth consecutive session.

The Korean won ended at 1,129.20 won against the greenback, down 2.40 won from the previous session.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended higher. The return on three-year bonds added 0.4 basis points to 1.94 percent, and the yield on 10-year bonds rose 0.3 basis points to 2.21 percent.

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