Kospi inches down as trade tension continues

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Kospi inches down as trade tension continues


Korean shares ended lower on Tuesday as investor worries over U.S.-China trade friction continued to linger. The Korean won appreciated against the U.S. dollar.

After a rise in the previous trading session, the benchmark Kospi fell 17.58 points, or 0.82 percent, to end the session at 2,114.35. Trade volume was moderate at 498.74 million shares worth 5.43 trillion won ($4.90 billion).

“As President Donald Trump named U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, one of his cabinet’s most strident trade hawks, to spearhead working-level talks with China, investors may think the trade war is not coming to an end soon,” said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities.

Institutional investors were net sellers in the main bourse, offloading a net 360.8 billion won worth of shares. Retail investors scooped in a net 219.7 billion won, and offshore investors bought a net 123.3 billion won worth of shares.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 2.54 percent to 42,150 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix declined 2.13 percent to 69,000 won.

Chemical shares also fell as LG Chem ended down 1.78 percent to 358,500 won, and Lotte Chemical fell 1.04 percent to 285,500 won.

Leading steelmaker Posco was down 1.73 percent to 255,000 won.

Oil refiners were among losers in the session as SK Innovation dropped 2.21 percent to 199,000 won, and S-Oil ended 1.30 percent down to 113,500 won.

Carmakers were mixed as Hyundai Motor retreated 0.92 percent to 107,500 won, while its sister company Kia Motors inched up 0.16 percent to 30,450 won.

Meanwhile, pharmaceutical giant Celltrion rose, adding 1.25 percent to close the session at 243,500 won.

Financial shares also rose, with KB Financial Group advancing 1.59 percent to 47,950 won, and Shinhan Financial Group rising 1.20 percent to 42,150 won.

The secondary Kosdaq also ended the session lower, edging down 0.83 points or 0.12 percent, to close the day at 708.63. The tech and bio-heavy index was weighed down by institutional selling of semiconductor-related shares despite a 1.28 percent rise overnight in the U.S. Nasdaq Biotechnology Index. As institutional investors turned net sellers, offshore investors were net buyers for the third consecutive session in the junior bourse.

The Korean won closed at 1,105.30 won against the greenback, down 5.40 won from the previous trading session’s close.

Bond prices ended higher.

BY CHAE YUN-HWAN, YONHAP [chae.yunhwan@joongang.co.kr]
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