Stocks barely budge as uncertainty increases

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Stocks barely budge as uncertainty increases

Shares ended higher Monday, as investors pinned hope on progress made in trade talks between the United States and China. The Korean won fell against the dollar.

The benchmark Kospi gained 0.99 points, or 0.04 percent, to close at 2,210.6. Trading volume was moderate, at 335.88 million shares worth 4.56 trillion won ($3.98 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 428 to 397.


The index swung between gains and losses to end higher as investors digested the latest developments in the trade talks between Washington and Beijing, while keeping their eyes on the downbeat first-quarter earnings guidance by market heavyweights.

“Investor sentiment was lifted on eased concerns over the trade standoff between Washington and Beijing, and global growth, which was positive for the local stock market,” said Yoon Jung-seon, an analyst at KB Investment & Securities.

“The attention is now on South Korea’s proposal for a good enough deal with North Korea to advance the stalled denuclearization talks between Pyongyang and Washington.”

Foreign investors scooped up a net 275.4 billion won worth of stocks to support the broader market. Institutions and retail investors offloaded a net 173.8 billion won and 103.2 billion won, respectively.

Tech blue chips were down on weak prospects for the memory chip market. Top market cap Samsung Electronics fell 0.43 percent to 46,650 won, and memory chip maker SK Hynix declined 1.39 percent to 77,900 won.

LG Chem rose 1.59 percent to 383,400 won, and Naver fell 1.22 percent to 121,500 won.

Auto shares ended mixed. Hyundai Motor rose 1.59 percent to 128,000 won, but its auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis fell 0.67 percent to 223,500 won. Kia Motors climbed 3.45 percent to 39,000 won.

The secondary Kosdaq gained 0.21 points, or 0.03 percent, to close at 751.92. Foreign investors net bought near the market close to take the index slightly higher at the end of trading. The index swung between gains and losses mostly throughout the day.

Celltrion Healthcare climbed 2.06 percent to 69,300 won, but ShilaJen fell 0.77 percent to 64,300 won. CJ ENM lost 0.26 percent to 231,100 won.

The local currency closed at 1,144.7 won against the dollar, up 8.1 won from the previous day’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds lost 1.2 basis points to 1.723 percent, and the return on 10-year bonds lost 2.5 basis points to 1.868 percent.

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