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Kospi declines from high, but foreigners buy

Dec 19,2019
Stocks took a breather on Wednesday after reaching a seven-month high in the previous session, as investors sought to cash in gains from a recent rally, analysts said.

The won lost ground against the dollar.

After a choppy session, the benchmark Kospi inched down 0.92 points, or 0.04 percent, to close at 2,194.76. Trade volume was high at 580 million shares worth 5.4 trillion won ($4.6 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 426 to 408.

Stocks opened slightly higher, taking a cue from overnight gains on Wall Street, but they soon turned downward.

Institutional investors offloaded 350 billion won and individual investors 56.4 billion won, while foreigners scooped up a whopping net 381.3 billion won to continue a two-day buying binge.

“The buying spree by foreigners was mainly focused on chip stocks, and the Kospi jumped by more than 5 percent this month alone, which is now prodding investors toward profit taking from the recent rally,” Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities said.

Most large-cap shares ended mixed. Samsung Electronics closed 0.71 percent down to 56,300 won.

Chipmaker SK Hynix gained 0.22 percent to continue a five-day winning streak, ending the session at a record high of 93,000 won.

Auto shares were strong, with Hyundai Motor moving up 0.82 percent to 123,000 won, and Kia Motors rising 1.34 percent to 45,250 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis added 1.33 percent to end the day at 267,000 won.

Bio shares closed lower, with Samsung BioLogics losing 0.13 percent to end at 340,500 won. Celltrion was down 0.84 percent to 177,500 won.

State-run utility Korea Electric Power gained 2 percent to reach 28,100 won.

Shares of local airlines were mixed as Asiana Airlines stayed flat at 5,350 won, whereas Korean Air shed 0.36 percent closing at 27,750 won. Jeju Air gained 7.57 percent closing at 27,700 won as it announced its purchase of Eastar Jet.

The secondary Kosdaq shed 1.63 points, or 0.25 percent, to close at 648.95.

The local currency closed at 1,168.8 won against the dollar, up 2.6 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, were mixed. The yield on the three-year bond lost 0.9 basis points, to reach 1.355 percent, while the return on the ten-year government bond gained 0.6 basis points to 1.88 percent.

BY KANG JAE-EUN, YONHAP [kang.jaeeun@joongang.co.kr]