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Kospi inches up as U.S., China agree to talks

Sept 14,2018
Korean stocks advanced Thursday as investors welcomed news of a fresh round of U.S.-China trade talks, although gains were limited by foreign selling. The Korean won appreciated against the greenback.

The benchmark Kospi rose 3.31 points, or 0.14 percent, to close at 2,286.23. Trade volume was moderate at 6.39 trillion won ($5.69 billion).

The main index rebounded after a two-day losing streak on news that Washington reached out to Beijing for a new round of trade talks, giving China a chance to avoid having punitive tariffs imposed on $200 billion of its goods.

Institutions bought a net 211.0 billion won while retail investors purchased 30.8 billion won worth of stocks. Foreigners dumped a net 273.2 billion won as they remained concerned about lingering uncertainties surrounding trade tensions.

“The recent capital outflow was caused by currency crises in Turkey and Argentina, along with prolonged trade friction between the U.S. and China,” said Kim Sang-ho, an analyst at Shinhan Investment & Securities. “The foreign sentiment is expected to remain subdued because these issues can’t be solved in the short term and results of the U.S. midterm elections are hard to predict at this point.”

Tech shares slumped after Goldman Sachs analysts lowered their rating on U.S. chipmaker Micron Technology on downbeat fourth-quarter earnings prospect, which also affected industry leaders in Korea.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 1.12 percent to 44,050 won, and SK Hynix, a global chipmaker, decreased 0.8 percent to 74,500 won.

Pharmaceutical giant Celltrion increased 2.98 percent to 293,500 won, and LG Chem, the country’s leading chemical firm, added 1.89 percent to 350,000 won.

Auto shares were down, with top automaker Hyundai Motor declining 0.77 percent to 128,500 won.

The secondary Kosdaq rose 4.62 points, or 0.56 percent, to 830.95. The bio and tech-heavy index rose for the third consecutive session on stronger pharmaceutical shares despite a 0.3 percent drop in the U.S. Nasdaq.

Most large cap biopharmaceutical stocks closed bullish. No. 1 Celltrion Healthcare climbed 1.98 percent to 97,700 won while competitor SillaJen rose 2.36 percent to 86,700 won.

The local currency closed at 1,122.4 won against the U.S. dollar, down 6.2 won from Wednesday’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year bonds gained 2.8 basis points to 1.92 percent, and the return on 10-year bonds increased 0.8 basis points to 2.26 percent.


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


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