Global trade concerns hurt large-cap stocks

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Global trade concerns hurt large-cap stocks


Korean stocks ended lower Wednesday as institutional and foreign investors offloaded large-cap shares amid lingering trade concerns between the world’s two largest economies. The Korean won depreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi shed 23.95 points, or 1.03 percent, to 2,291.77. Trade volume was moderate at 4.8 trillion won ($4.28 billion).

The local stock market opened lower tracking overnight Wall Street losses and went further downhill in the afternoon as drops in major tech shares weighed on the bourse.

Market watchers said pending U.S. tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, which could take effect as early as this week, are pushing investors to take a wait-and-see stance.

“The trade dispute between Washington and Beijing is entering a new phase,” said Lee Kyoung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities. “Its impact on the global economy and companies’ profits will be amplified once Trump’s will is realized after the public comment period.”

Institutional investors dumped a net 208 billion won and foreign investors shed a net 85.3 billion won worth of local stocks. Individuals bought a net 246.7 billion won worth of stocks.

Tech shares tumbled, with market bellwether Samsung Electronics dipping 2.2 percent to close at 46,600 won. SK Hynix was down 1.48 percent to 80,000 won.

Naver, Korea’s largest portal operator, plunged 2.52 percent to 736,000 won, and Netmarble, the country’s top mobile game developer, declined 2.52 percent to close at 116,000 won.

Meanwhile, stocks of Hyundai Motor and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors rose after the two car makers posted improved sales in the United States last month driven by increased SUV sales.

Hyundai Motor jumped 1.98 percent to 129,000 won, and Kia Motors was up 1.9 percent to 32,200 won.

Shipbuilders also rose with Hyundai Heavy Industries soaring 1.69 percent to 120,500 won.

The secondary Kosdaq dropped 7.27 points, or 0.88 percent, to 820.00. The tech and bio-heavy index was dragged down by a near 1 percent fall of the U.S. Nasdaq biotech index and weak bio shares from institutional and foreign selling.

The Korean won closed at 1,121.50 won against the U.S. dollar, up 6.6 won from Tuesday’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds moved down 1.7 basis points to 1.90 percent, and the return on 10-year bonds fell 2.9 basis points to 2.27 percent.

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