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Seoul stocks inch down on foreigner selling

Dec 07,2018
Korean shares closed lower on Thursday as foreign investors continued to offload in the market amid concerns surrounding U.S.-China trade tensions. The Korean won depreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi fell 32.62 points, or 1.55 percent, to close the end the day at 2,068.69. Trading volume was moderate at 528.19 million shares worth 5.44 trillion won ($4.9 billion).

“The market declined as worries surrounding foreign uncertainties and offshore investor selling continued,” said Lee Young-gon, an analyst at Hana Financial Investment. “As the U.S.-China trade uncertainties are yet to be resolved, concerns on a slowing economy weighed on investor sentiment.”

Foreign investors were net sellers for the second consecutive session, unloading a net 382.1 billion won worth of shares. Retail investors bought a net 348.5 billion won, and institutional investors scooped up a net 21.4 billion won worth of shares.

Major tech shares lost ground, with market bellwether Samsung Electronics falling 2.29 percent to 40,500 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix ending down 3.23 percent to 66,000 won. LG Electronics dropped 4.32 percent to 68,600 won.

Leading steelmaker Posco also edged down 0.40 percent to 248,000 won.

Top chemical company LG Chem shed 0.28 percent to 353,500 won, while Lotte Chemical remained unchanged at 279,500 won.

The country’s leading portal operator Naver declined 4.0 percent to 120,000 won, while tech rival Kakao added 1.31 percent to 116,000 won.

Leading wireless services provider SK Telecom also increased 1.95 percent to 287,500 won, and KT rose 1.00 percent to 30,400 won. Meanwhile, LG U+ fell 1.14 percent to 17,400 won.

Carmakers were gainers as Hyundai Motor jumped 2.79 percent to 110,500 won, and its sister company Kia Motors rose 1.14 percent to 30,950 won. Auto-parts supplier Hyundai Mobis also added 1.13 percent to 179,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq also ended lower, following the main bourse, dropping 22.74 points or 3.24 percent, to close the day at 678.38. Pharmaceutical shares fell 4.29 percent on average and semiconductor-related shares declined 3.47 percent in the tech and bio-heavy index.

The Korean won closed at 1,120.30 won against the greenback, up 6.20 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds fell 6.2 basis points to 1.84 percent, and the return on 10-year bonds declined 7.5 basis points to 1.98 percent.

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