Kospi sags on mixed economic signals
Stocks closed lower Thursday on investors' profit-taking amid mixed economic signals. The won fell against the dollar.
The Kospi lost 18.12 points, or 0.82 percent, to close at 2,183.76. Trading volume was high at about 775 million shares worth some 1.5 trillion won ($1.2 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 435 to 403.
Foreigners sold a net 13 billion won, ending a three-day buying streak, with institutions offloading a net 184 billion won. Retail investors purchased a net 301 billion won.
"Leading stocks seem to be taking a breather [after recent gains], with investors turning to profit-taking," Samsung securities analyst Seo Jeong-hoon said.
The Kospi closed above the 2,200 level for the first time since Feb.19 in the previous session, largely on hopes for a coronavirus vaccine and economic recovery.
The index remained bearish the entire session Thursday, extending losses following the central bank's gloomy economic forecast for 2020.
Bank of Korea Gov. Lee Ju-yeol said Korea's GDP growth this year is likely to be lower than the May forecast of a 0.2 percent contraction, saying that a recovery in consumption and exports will be slower than previously forecasted.
Growing tensions between the United States and China over Beijing's new national security law in Hong Kong also made investors cautious.
The Kospi trimmed some of the earlier losses on China's surprising 3.2 percent on-year hike in gross domestic product in the second quarter. The world's second-largest economy posted a 6.8 percent on-year drop in the first quarter.
Most large caps finished lower.
Samsung Electronics lost 1.65 percent to 53,800 won, with SK hynix slipping 0.36 percent to 82,700 won.
Samsung Biologics dipped 2.27 percent to 732,000 won, and Celltrion fell 0.32 percent to 315,000 won.
Hyundai Motor gained 0.92 percent to 110,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,205.6 won per dollar, down 5.10 won from the previous session's close.
The secondary Kosdaq was down 6.22 points, or 0.80 percent, to close at 775.07.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year bonds lost 1.5 basis points to 0.832 percent, while the return on the benchmark ten-year government bond added 0.5 basis points to reach 0.62 percent.
BY CHEA SARAH, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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