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Investors cash in gains as end of the year nears

Dec 20,2019
Stocks took a breather on Thursday for the second session in a row as investors continued to cash in gains from a recent rally, despite a strong buying spree by foreigners, analysts said. The won rose against the dollar.

After a choppy session, the Kospi was up 1.8 points, or 0.08 percent, to close at 2,196.56. Trade volume was high at 630 million shares worth 5.2 trillion won ($4.5 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 423 to 373.

Institutional and individual investors offloaded 118.1 billion won and 164.8 billion won, respectively, while foreigners scooped up a net 257.5 billion won to extend their buying binge to a third day.

The Seoul index started higher, buoyed by chip and bio rallies, but came under selling pressure from institutional and retail investors who sought to dress up their performance as the year end draws near.

“Investors went on a profit-booking spree, mainly targeting large-cap shares, despite the fact that foreigners continued a buying spree,” Lee Won, an analyst at Bookook Securities, said.

Most large-cap shares ended mixed.

Samsung Electronics closed 0.53 percent down to 56,000 won after opening higher. Chipmaker SK Hynix extended its winning streak to a sixth day, up 0.65 percent to end at a fresh record high of 93,600 won, buoyed by expectations for growing demand and a recovery in global chip prices.

Bio shares were bullish, with pharmaceutical firm Samsung BioLogics increasing 0.25 percent to end at 395,500 won. Another bio firm, Celltrion, added 1.69 percent to 180,500 won.

Auto shares were mixed. Leading automaker Hyundai Motor moved up 0.41 percent to 123,500 won. Its smaller sister company, Kia Motors, went down 1.22 percent at 44,700 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis lost 2.25 percent to 261,000 won.

Samsung C&T, Samsung’s construction unit, jumped 4.37 percent to 107,500 won.

Shares of local airlines were on a losing streak as Asiana Airlines fell 1.12 percent to 5,290 won.

The secondary Kosdaq shed 1.10 points, or 0.17 percent, to close at 647.85.

The local currency closed at 1,165.6 won against the dollar, down 3.2 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year bonds added 2.8 basis points to 1.383 percent, and the return on the benchmark ten-year government bond was up 3.7 basis points to 1.91 percent.

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