Local stocks drop, tracking U.S. tech worries

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Local stocks drop, tracking U.S. tech worries


Korean stocks closed lower Thursday as foreign investors dumped large-cap tech shares amid weak U.S. tech stocks and the ongoing trade war between China and the United States. The Korean won depreciated against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Kospi shed 4.16 points, or 0.18 percent, to close at 2,287.61. Trade volume was moderate at 5.3 trillion won ($4.7 billion).

The main bourse opened lower, tracking overnight losses on Wall Street. The tech-heavy Nasdaq index fell more than 1 percent, as Facebook and Twitter executives were grilled by U.S. lawmakers.

“Drops by Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix also weighed on the market,” said Lee Kyoung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities.

Foreigners offloaded a net 293.5 billion won worth of local stocks. Individuals bought a net 114 billion won while institutions purchased a net 113 billion won, countering some of the losses.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics backtracked 1.07 percent to 46,100 won. SK Hynix, a major chipmaker, was down 1.5 percent to 78,800 won.

Chemical shares were also bearish. LG Chem dropped 1.96 percent to finish at 351,000 won, and Lotte Chemical declined 1 percent to 297,500 won.

Auto and steel shares rose, keeping the index from heading further downhill. Korea’s No. 1 carmaker Hyundai Motor jumped 3.88 percent to close at 134,000 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors advanced 4.5 percent to 33,650 won. Auto parts company Hyundai Mobis added 2.21 percent to 231,500 won.

The rallies came after Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors announced improved August sales results in the United States earlier this week. Steel shares ended on a mixed note, with top player Posco edging down 0.32 percent to 308,500 won. Hyundai Steel gained 1.15 percent to 52,900 won.

Pharmaceutical giant Celltrion rose 1.09 percent to 277,500 won, while Naver, the country’s largest portal operator, dropped 0.82 percent to 730,000 won. The secondary Kosdaq fell 4.82 points, or 0.59 percent, to 815.18. The tech and bio-heavy index closed in negative terrain as foreign and institutional investors shed IT shares, tracking losses to the U.S. Nasdaq.

The Korean won closed at 1,124.00 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2.5 won from Wednesday’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended lower. The yield on three-year bonds moved up 1.2 basis points to 1.91 percent, and the return on 10-year bonds rose 0.5 basis points to 2.27 percent.

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