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Flat week for Kospi as global jitters continue

Nov 24,2018
The market closed the week barely changed, a trend that has kept the Kospi stuck around the 2,000 level.

The benchmark Kospi closed on Friday at 12.47 points, or 0.6 percent less than the previous day, to end the week at 2,057.48. It is the fourth consecutive trading day that the Kospi ended lowered than the day before, impacted by U.S.-China trade friction.

“Uncertainties stemming from Washington-Beijing trade issues linger as the two sides have been exchanging criticism over each other’s trade measures,” Seo Sang-young, from Kiwoom Securities, said. “Ahead of the U.S.-China summit meeting next week, therefore, investors have mixed sentiments.”

Institutional investors were net sellers and offloaded more than 138 billion won ($121.8 million) worth of stocks while retail and foreign investors were net buyers. It was the first time that foreign investors have turned into net buyers since Nov. 12.

The market started off positively thanks to foreign investors buying shares. However, in the afternoon, the market started to turn negative due to the Chinese stock market’s fall.

The Shanghai Composite Index fell nearly 2.5 percent from the previous day, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dipped nearly half a percent. The Japanese market was closed on Friday.

Among the stocks, insurance shares fell 1.9 percent while chemicals and medical precision shares were down 1.8 percent. Steel and metals were 1.6 percent lower than the previous day.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics dipped 0.12 percent to close at 42,400 won. Many of the top 10 stocks by market capitalization also fell compared to the previous day including the nation’s biggest biopharmaceutical company, Celltrion, which fell 0.9 percent.

But the biggest loser among the top 10 companies was LG Chem, which fell 2.81 percent, followed by Posco, which lost 2.76 percent. Hyundai Motor gained 0.97 percent to close at 93,700 won.

Weakening crude prices dragged down shares of oil refiners and chemical makers, with industry leader SK Innovation losing 2.43 percent to reach 200,500 won and LG Chem falling 2.81 percent to reach 328,500 won.

The Korean won closed at 1,130.5 won against the U.S. dollar, down 1.3 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended sharply higher.

The yield on three-year Treasuries fell 2.8 basis points to 1.914 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds lost 3.6 basis points to 2.006 percent.

BY LEE HO-JEONG, YONHAP [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]