Kospi down for second day on GDP statistics

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Kospi down for second day on GDP statistics


Korean stocks ended lower for the second consecutive day on Thursday as investors remained concerned over a slowdown in Asia’s fourth-largest economy and the Korean won’s sharp decline against the dollar, analysts said. The won plummeted to its lowest level in almost 27 months against the dollar.

The benchmark Kospi shed 10.53 points, or 0.48 percent, to close at 2,190.5. Trade volume was moderate at 427 million shares worth 5.4 trillion won ($4.7 billion).

The local stock market opened sharply lower as investors took a cue from overnight losses on Wall Street and were disappointed with the country’s first-quarter growth.

The Bank of Korea estimated that the country’s economy contracted 0.3 percent on a quarterly basis, the worst performance in a decade.

“Investor sentiment has remained cautious on concerns over a slump in the country’s economy, and that was reaffirmed by the figures,” Lee Young-gon, a researcher from Hana Financial Investment, said.

Individuals bought a net 61.3 billion won worth of stocks and foreign investors sold a net 16.5 billion won worth of shares. Institutions sold a net 50.7 billion won of stocks.

Samsung Electronics ended at 44,650 won, down 0.22 percent from the previous session’s close, to continue a three-day losing streak.

Other market heavyweights mostly remained in negative terrain.

Auto shares closed lower, with leading automaker Hyundai Motor moving down 0.36 percent, to 138,000 won. Its sister company, Kia Motors, lost 3.3 percent to reach 42,450 won, although it reported a 50 percent rise in its first-quarter net profit.

Bio shares also closed lower, with Samsung BioLogics, a biopharmaceutical affiliate of Samsung Group, sinking 6.49 percent to end at 338,500 won. Celltrion was down 2.98 percent to 211,500 won.

SK Hynix, the world’s No. 2 memory chip producer, gained 2.17 percent to close at 80,200 won after the company forecast the global chip industry would recover this year.

The Kosdaq fell 7.39 points, or 0.98 percent, to end the session at 750.43. The tech heavy index was dragged down by institutional and foreign selling of shares and a 1.2-percent decrease in Nasdaq Biotechnology Index overnight.

The won closed at 1,160.5 won against the dollar, up 9.6 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices ended higher. The yield on three-year bonds fell 2.5 basis points to 1.72 percent. The yield on 10-year bonds fell 3.3 basis points to 1.88 percent.

BY KIM HE-YU, YONHAP [kim.heyu@joongang.co.kr]
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