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Stocks decline on North missile test, earnings

July 26,2019
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Stocks closed lower Thursday as investor sentiment was dented by downbeat corporate earnings and North Korea’s missile launches. The won fell against the dollar.

The benchmark Kospi retreated 7.82 points, or 0.38 percent, to 2,074.48. Trading volume was moderate at 590.89 million shares worth 5.13 trillion won ($4.34 billion), with losers overwhelming gainers 688 to 152.

Institutions dumped local stocks on concerns over lackluster earnings and slowing growth amid escalating trade tension with Japan. North Korea fired two short-range missiles earlier in the day - an apparent tactic to put pressure on Washington ahead of possible nuclear talks.

Foreigners remained net buyers on hopes of eased trade tension as the United States and China plan to resume their trade talks next week, the first such talks since their leaders declared a temporary truce in late June.

“Although trade talks between the United States and China lifted sentiment among foreigners, South Korea’s trade tension with Japan and North Korea’s missile launches highlighted geopolitical tension on the Korean Peninsula,” said Yoon Jung-seon, KB Investment & Securities analyst.

“The stock market suffered on mixed corporate results and a weak economic outlook, while auto and chip shares buttressed the bottom line.”

Institutions offloaded a net 153.3 billion won worth of local stocks, while foreigners and individuals purchased a net 112.2 billion won and 45.6 billion won, respectively.

Samsung Electronics gained 1.72 percent to reach 47,200 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix moved up 2.06 percent to 79,200 won despite gloomy second-quarter profit numbers.

Bio shares ended lower. Samsung BioLogics dropped 3.74 percent to 260,500 won, while Celltrion fell 1.11 percent to 178,000 won. Hanmi Pharmaceutical inched down 0.17 percent to 297,500 won.

Auto shares ended mixed. Hyundai Mobis, the parts maker for Hyundai Motor, jumped 5.59 percent to 245,000 won after posting upbeat quarterly results. Yet Hyundai Motor fell 0.75 percent to 131,500 won, and its sister company Kia Motors dropped 1.14 percent to 43,400 won. Kakao fell 3.68 percent to 131,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq dropped 7.43 points, or 1.13 percent, to close at 652.40.

The local currency closed at 1,181.5 won against the dollar, up 3.6 won from Wednesday’s close. Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year bonds shed 1.9 basis points to 1.302 percent and the return on 10-year bonds lost 3.4 basis points to 1.431 percent.

BY KO JUN-TAE, YONHAP [ko.juntae@joongang.co.kr]