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Market ends slightly higher, won depreciates

Feb 12,2019
Korea’s main bourse ended slightly higher Monday as investors cautiously awaited developments in trade talks between the United States and China, analysts said.

The Korean won depreciated against the dollar.

The benchmark Kospi added 3.68 points, or 0.17 percent, to finish at 2,180.73. Trading volume was relatively light at 398.63 million shares worth 5.15 trillion won ($5.01 billion).

Individuals bought a net 114.6 billion won worth of stock. Foreigners sold a net 56.7 billion won of stock and institutions sold a net 74.1 billion won worth of shares.

“Investors appear to be taking a wait-and-see posture as the United States and China began their high-level negotiations on trade terms,” Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities, said.

“Until the market gauges the direction of the global trade deal, such volatility is likely to continue,” he noted.

On the Seoul bourse, last-minute buying of tech shares pulled up the index. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 0.45 percent to 45,000 won, and SK Hynix, the world’s No. 2 chipmaker, grew 0.82 percent to 74,100 won.

Big-cap steel and chemicals also gathered ground. Top steelmaker Posco rose 1.14 percent to 267,000 won, and LG Chem advanced 0.54 percent to 372,000 won.

Bio shares ended higher. Shares of leading biosimilar manufacturer Celltrion rose 0.23 percent to end at 215,500 won. Hanmi Pharmaceutical gained 4.01 percent to 467,000 won.

Auto shares traded bullish. Top carmaker Hyundai Motor increased 1.59 percent to finish at 127,500 won, and Kia Motors rose 1.65 percent to 37,000 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis climbed 0.69 percent to 219,000 won.

But financials tumbled on investors’ profit-taking, with Shinhan Financial falling 1.25 percent to 43,300 won and KB Financial dropping 3.64 percent to 46,350 won. Mobile carriers ended lower as well. KT dropped 0.17 percent to 28,700 won and its rival LG U+ fell 3.21 percent to end at 15,100.

The secondary Kosdaq rose 4.73 points, or 0.65 percent, to end the session at 733.47. The tech heavy index was lifted by foreign buying of pharmaceutical shares and a 0.6-percent rise in the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index Friday. The Korean won closed at 1,124.70 won against the dollar, up 0.8 won from Friday’s close.

Bond prices ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds fell 0.5 basis points to 1.78 percent, and the yield on 10-year bonds fell 2.2 basis points to 1.94 percent.

BY KIM HE-YU, YONHAP [kim.heyu@joongang.co.kr]