Local stocks fall on resurgent trade tensions

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Local stocks fall on resurgent trade tensions


Korean stocks closed lower Monday, as signs of renewed global trade frictions prompted investors to lock in their profits from recent gains. The Korean won depreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi shed 15.24 points, or 0.66 percent, to 2,303.01. Trade volume was moderate at 4.94 trillion won ($4.38 billion).

Institutions went on a selling spree, shedding a net 279.1 billion won worth of local shares. Foreigners picked up a net 178.8 billion won and retail investors bought a net 72.5 billion won.

“Amid a lack of fresh market-moving leads, investor sentiment was swayed by developments of trade friction between the United States and China,” said Lee Kyung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities.

Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump instructed his aides to proceed with tariffs on nearly $200 billion worth of Chinese products despite Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s recent attempts to resume trade talks with Beijing, according to U.S. media reports.

There were losses across the board, with tech, steel and chemicals leading the fall.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics decreased 1.53 percent to close at 45,150 won, and chipmaker SK Hynix fell 0.64 percent to 77,200 won.

Top steelmaker Posco went down 0.34 percent to 293,000 won, and No. 1 carmaker Hyundai Motor sank 0.77 percent to 128,500 won.

Chemicals also saw bearish trade. Amorepacific retreated 1.86 percent to 263,500 won, and its rival LG Household & Healthcare decreased 1.53 percent to 1,224,000 won.

LG Chem was one of the few major stocks that gained. It advanced 0.57 percent to 354,000 won on forecasts that its battery business unit would performance strongly over the next couple of years.

Bio shares also rose. Celltrion spiked 3.95 percent to 302,500 won and Samsung BioLogics soared 3.18 percent to 486,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq fell 6.03 points, or 0.72 percent, to 828.88. The tech and bio-heavy index closed in negative terrain for the first time in five sessions, dragged down by institutional and foreign selling of shares amid weakened investor sentiment.

The local currency closed at 1,126.60 won against the U.S. dollar, up 10.00 won from the previous session’s close. Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year bonds gained 0.7 basis points to 1.97 percent, and the return on 10-year bonds also increased 0.7 basis points to 2.32 percent.

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