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Market up slightly but rattled by trade war

Sept 03,2019
Stocks ended slightly higher Monday, rising for the second consecutive day, although the United States slapped a new set of tariffs on Chinese goods. The won strengthened against the dollar.

The benchmark Kospi gained 1.4 points, or 0.07 percent, to close at 1,969.19. Trade volume was slim at 258.3 million shares worth 2.89 trillion won ($2.39 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 526 to 296.

The index swung between small losses and gains as investors digested the latest developments in the bruising trade war between the United States and China.

The United States imposed 15-percent duties on about $112 billion worth of a wide range of consumer goods imported from China, while Beijing imposed new tariffs on U.S. crude.

Despite the latest round of tariffs, U.S. President Donald Trump said trade talks with China are still planned for this month.

“The market seems directionless due to a lack of momentum as Trump is sending mixed signals on the trade war with China,” Yoon Jung-seon, an analyst at KB Investment & Securities, said. “Investors remain wary as Trump imposed a net set of tariffs on China, while pushing for negotiations in the near term.”

Institutions scooped up a net 132.2 billion won worth of shares, while foreigners and retail investors sold a net 124.2 billion won and 19.5 billion won, respectively.

Tech shares were mixed. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics edged down 0.45 percent to 43,800 won, while chip giant SK Hynix inched up 0.26 percent to 77,600 won. LG Electronics inched up 0.16 percent to 61,400 won.

Auto shares ended higher. Hyundai Motor added 1.95 percent to 131,000 won, and sister company Kia Motors gained 0.46 percent to 43,900 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis rose 1.61 percent to 252,500 won.

Chemical shares also traded mixed after SK Innovation said Friday it will sue its bigger rival, LG Chem, over an electric vehicle battery patent. LG Chem retreated 2.72 percent to 321,500 won, while SK Innovation rose 0.3 percent to 165,500 won.

The secondary Kosdaq gained 9.26 points, or 1.52 percent, to close at 619.81.

The local currency closed at 1,210.8 won against the dollar, down 0.4 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed sharply lower. The yield on three-year bonds added 6.5 basis points to 1.233 percent, and the yield on 10-year bonds gained 6.8 basis points to 1.344 percent.

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