Kospi inches up as Kosdaq hits 20-year high
Stocks inched up on Monday, as investors took to the sidelines amid increased valuation pressure and uncertainties from the Sino-American political friction. The won fell against the dollar.
Meanwhile, the tech-laden Kosdaq market ended at the highest in nearly 21 years.
The secondary market index rose 11.26 points, or 1.14 percent, to close at 1,000.65, marking the first time that it passed the milestone since Sept. 14, 2000.
Total market cap also closed at a record 411.1 trillion won, steeply up from 385.6 trillion won at the final closing last year.
After choppy trading, the benchmark Kospi rose 3.71 points, or 0.12 percent, to close at 3,135.59.
Trading volume was moderate at about 1 billion shares worth around 13.1 trillion won ($11.6 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 493 to 350.
Foreigners sold a net 327 billion won, while retail investors purchased 725 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 411 billion won.
Stocks got off to a muted start after the Kospi snapped its six-day gaining steak the previous session as valuation pressure increased ahead of the earnings report season.
Lingering U.S.-China political friction also pegged the Kospi’s further gains, analysts said.
"Local stock markets seem to be testing the water, with other Asian markets retreating amid rising concerns over the U.S.-China tensions," Kiwoom Securities analyst Seo Sang-young said.
Late last week, the U.S. government added several Chinese supercomputer makers and research labs to its export blacklist, citing technology and security issues.
In Seoul, Samsung Electronics lost 0.48 percent to 83,200 won, and chipmaker SK hynix shed 1.79 percent to 137,500 won.
Internet portal Naver moved up 0.52 percent to 385,500 won, and carmaker Hyundai Motor declined 1.09 percent to 226,000 won. Trading was suspended for mobile messenger operator Kakao over share splitting.
Chemical maker LG Chem gained 0.62 percent to 817,000 won, while pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics climbed 1.56 percent to 782,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,124.9 won to the U.S. dollar, up 3.7 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year bonds added 1.9 basis points to 1.169 percent, and the return on the benchmark ten-year government bond declined 4.5 basis point to 1.62 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]