Seoul stocks flat as U.S. continues slide

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Seoul stocks flat as U.S. continues slide


Korean shares barely changed on Wednesday as U.S. stock markets continued to slide amid a drop in oil prices. The Korean won depreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi dipped for the second consecutive session, falling 6.03 points or 0.29 percent to close at 2,076.55. Trading volume was low at 262.0 million shares worth 4.95 trillion won ($4.38 billion).

“The U.S. stock market closed weaker on the performance uncertainties of retailers coupled with a sharp decrease in international oil prices,” said Lee Kyung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities.

Foreigners were net sellers for the seventh consecutive session, offloading a net 390.3 billion won worth of shares. Retail investors picked up a net 71.3 billion won, and institutions scooped up a net 327.0 billion won worth of shares.

Pharmaceutical giant Celltrion fell 1.10 percent to close the session at 225,000 won.

Oil refiners closed lower on falling crude prices, with SK Innovation declining 0.49 percent to 203,500 won and S-Oil losing 2.21 percent to 110,500 won.

Leading steelmaker Posco dropped 1.93 percent to 254,500 won.

Gaming companies were also losers as NCSoft inched 0.11 percent down to 475,500 won, and rival Netmarble fell 3.63 percent to 119,500 won.

Tech shares were mixed as market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 1.64 percent to 42,100 won, while No.2 chipmaker SK Hynix gained 0.89 percent to 68,100 won.

Carmakers ended the session higher as Hyundai Motor edged 0.31 percent up to 97,800 won, and its sister company Kia Motors rose 2.30 percent to 28,950 won.

Chemical shares also rose, with LG Chemical ending 0.29 percent up at 340,500 won, and Lotte Chemical adding 1.61 percent to 283,500 won.

The secondary Kosdaq ended the session higher, rising 4.91 points or 0.71 percent at 695.72. The tech and bio-heavy bourse started the session lower, weighed by a 0.60 percent decline in the U.S. Nasdaq Biotechnology Index overnight, but climbed later in the session thanks to foreign investors buying pharmaceutical-related shares. Institutional investors have been net sellers for the sixteenth consecutive session in the junior bourse.

The Korean won closed at 1,131.60 won against the greenback, up 5.80 won from the previous session.

Bond prices ended lower. The yield on three-year bonds was up 0.6 basis points to 1.95 percent, and the return on ten-year bonds added 0.3 basis points to 2.21 percent.

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