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Easing global trade tensions push Kospi up

Aug 18,2018
Korean stocks closed slightly higher Friday on the latest news reports that the United States and China will resume trade talks later this month. The local currency appreciated against the U.S. greenback.

The benchmark Kospi climbed 6.25 points, or 0.28 percent, to close at 2,247,05. It turned around from a 0.8 percent drop in the previous day when the Kospi hit the lowest level in 15 months since May 2 last year.

Trading volume was light at 4.48 trillion won ($3.98 billion).

Foreigners turned to net buyers to scoop up a net 102 billion won worth of local shares, along with individual investors, who also bought a net 85.9 billion won. Institutions dumped 253.4 billion won.

“There has been only bad news these days. Today, investors responded to the good news that the two super powers started to move,” said Kim Sung-hwan, an analyst from Bookook Securities. “Also, they think the Turkish issue has passed its peak.”

Bio, refinery and retail shares led the increase.

Samsung BioLogics, Samsung’s biopharmaceutical arm, jumped 4.09 percent to 458,000 won. Hanmi Pharmaceutical rose 3.70 percent to 434,000 won.

Leading refinery SK Innovation advanced 1.01 percent to 201,000 won, and No. 3 S-Oil gained 2.04 percent to 125,000 won.

Shinsegae, a leading department store and duty-free shop operator, added 1.89 percent to 296,500 won. GS Retail moved up 2.02 percent to 35,300 won.

Jin Air, a budget carrier line of the country’s biggest airline Korean Air, vaulted 6.22 percent to 23,050 won after the government decided to allow it to stay in business. The company had been under investigation for allowing Korean Air heiress Cho Hyun-min, an American citizen, on its board of directors when Korean aviation law prohibits foreign nationals on boards of national-flagged airlines.

Top cap Samsung Electronics fell 0.34 percent to 44,100 won and runner-up SK Hynix lost 0.27 percent to 74,500 won.

The secondary Kosdaq jumped 11.12 points, or 1.46 percent, to 772.30. The tech and bio-heavy index was buoyed by the 0.9-percent incline of the U.S. Nasdaq biotech index and foreign and institutional buying of pharmaceutical shares.

The Korean won closed at 1,124.9 won against the U.S. dollar, down 5.2 won from the previous trading session.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds fell 5.3 basis points to 2.00 percent, and the return on 10-year government bonds dropped 4.4 basis points to 2.43 percent.


BY KIM EUN-JIN, YONHAP [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]


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