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Kospi is weak as punters fret about trade row

Aug 01,2019
Korean stocks closed lower on Wednesday as investors took to the sidelines amid the intensifying trade row with Japan and confusion about a rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve. The won depreciated against the dollar.

The benchmark Kospi moved down 14.13 points, or 0.69 percent, to 2,024.55. Trading volume was moderate at 578 million shares worth 5.41 trillion won ($4.57 billion).

Analysts said the decrease came as investors worried that Japan may expand its export restrictions on Korea. Investors also remained cautious ahead of the Fed’s rate-setting meeting.

“Investors are showing no clear moves ahead of the announcement of the result from the Federal Open Market Committee’s meeting,” said No Dong-gil, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities.

Japan is expected to officially announce the removal of Korea from a list of trusted trading partners this week.

Early this month, Tokyo implemented export curbs to Korea on materials crucial for the production of semiconductors and displays.

Individuals sold a net 76.8 billion won worth of shares, and foreign investors sold a net 49.9 billion won worth. Institutions bought a net 120.7 billion won of stocks.

Samsung Electronics moved down 2.58 percent at 45,350 won, after announcing its net profit tumbled 53.1 percent in the second quarter on-year due to weak memory chip prices and a slump in the mobile business.

SK Hynix fell 2.53 percent to 76,900 won, and LG Electronics moved down 3.26 percent to 65,300 won.

Hyundai Motor slipped 1.17 percent at 126,500 won, and Hyundai Mobis surrendered 1.23 percent at 241,000 won. Kia Motors shed 0.23 percent at 43,750 won.

Celltrion fell 3.67 percent at 170,500 won, while Samsung BioLogics added 1.27 percent at 280,000 won.

Some defensive stocks finished in positive terrain. Mobile carrier SK Telecom, on the other hand, rose 0.81 percent at 248,500 won. No. 2 player KT added 0.54 percent at 27,700 won.

The Kosdaq rose 4.54 points, or 0.73 percent, to end the session at 630.18. The tech-heavy index was initially dragged down due to a 0.2 percent fall in Nasdaq Index overnight but was eventually lifted by foreign buying of shares.

The won closed at 1,183.10 won against the dollar, up 1.50 won from the previous session.

Bond prices ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds fell 0.9 basis points to 1.29 percent. The yield on 10-year bonds fell 1.9 basis points to 1.39 percent.

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