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Renewed global tensions hurt Seoul stocks

Dec 11,2018
Korean shares closed lower on Monday as renewed U.S.-China trade concerns and weak trade data from China weighed on the market. The Korean won depreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi ended down 21.97 points, or 1.06 percent, to close the day at 2,053.79. Trading volume was moderate at 336.0 million shares worth 4.53 trillion won ($4.02 billion).

“While no fresh positive leads are out there, investors fretted about signs of renewed uncertainties over trade frictions between the United States and China,” said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities.

U.S.-China trade friction resurfaced after the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, earlier this month.

China also reported weaker-than-expected data on trade, pointing to slower global demand, added Seo.

Foreigner investors turned net sellers, dumping a net 270.9 billion won worth of local shares. Meanwhile, institutional investors turned net buyers, picking up a net 116.9 billion won. Retail investors were net buyers for the fifth consecutive session, scooping in a net 133.3 billion won worth of shares.

Large-cap shares lost ground, with tech shares leading the downturn.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics dipped 1.83 percent to 40,200 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix sank 1.95 percent to 65,500 won.

Top portal operator Naver declined 1.65 percent to 119,000 won, and tech rival Kakao dropped 3.06 percent to 111,000 won.

Pharmaceutical giant Celltrion edged down 0.41 percent to 244,500 won and steelmaker Posco fell 0.60 percent to 248,000 won.

Industry leader LG Chem tumbled 1.85 percent to 345,000 won.

Auto-shares were mostly down as leading carmaker Hyundai Motor decreased 0.45 percent to 110,500 won, and auto-parts affiliate Hyundai Mobis fell 0.55 percent to 180,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq also fell, declining 14.94 points, or 2.18 percent, to end the session at 670.39. The tech and bio-heavy index was dragged down by a 3.24 percent decline in the U.S. Nasdaq Biotechnology Index on Friday. Institutional investors have been net sellers for the fifth consecutive session in the junior bourse.

The Korean won closed at 1,126.50 won against the greenback, up 6.70 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices ended higher. The return on three-year bonds fell 3.1 basis points to 1.80 percent, and the yield on 10-year bonds declined 1.5 basis points to 1.98 percent.


BY CHAE YUN-HWAN, YONHAP [chae.yunhwan@joongang.co.kr]


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