Seoul stocks close flat as optimism starts to fade
Stocks closed flat Wednesday as investors cashed in profits amid virus fears marring hopes of economic recovery. The won rose against the dollar.
The Kospi declined 0.17 points, or 0.01 percent, to finish at 2,228.66. Trading volume was heavy at 839 million shares worth 15.3 trillion won ($12.8 billion), with gainers outpacing losers 423 to 412.
The Kospi closed up 1.4 percent Tuesday, buoyed by a European Union economic stimulus deal and hopes for coronavirus vaccines.
"Investors locked in profits by selling stocks that shot up in the previous session," said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities Co.
Foreigners unloaded a net 103 billion won, and institutions sold more shares than they bought at 242 billion won. But retail investors hunted for bargains as they snapped up a net 363 billion won.
Most market heavyweights closed mixed, with tech and automakers leading falls.
Samsung Electronics dropped 1.08 percent to 54,700 won, and chipmaker SK hynix declined 1.07 percent to 83,200 won.
Samsung BioLogics advanced 5.33 percent to 790,000 won, while Celltrion stayed flat at 321,500 won.
Automaker Hyundai Motor shed 2.47 percent to 118,500 won, and its affiliate Kia Motors fell 2.45 percent to 35,800 won.
But power plant builder Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction jumped 20 percent to 8,580 won on expectations that it may benefit from the government's Green New Deal initiative.
Posco gained 3.13 percent to 197,500 won despite its weak second-quarter earnings.
Pharmaceutical company SK Chemicals surged by the daily limit of 30 percent to 232,000 won on reports that its affiliate SK Bioscience inked a deal with global pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to produce and supply a vaccine candidate for the new coronavirus.
Internet giant Naver stayed flat at 270,000 won, with its rival Kakao rising 0.63 percent to 318,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,195.30 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2.5 won from the previous session.
The secondary Kosdaq added 4.41 points, or 0.56 percent, to close at 794.99.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year bonds lost 0.8 basis points to 0.810 percent, while the return on the benchmark ten-year government bond lost 1.3 basis points to reach 0.60 percent.
BY CHEA SARAH, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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