Seoul shares close lower on US-N. Korea uncertainty


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South Korean stocks closed lower Thursday following uncertainties over the US-North Korea summit, analysts said. The local currency gained against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index plunged 39.35 points, or 1.76 percent, to 2,195.44. Trading volume was high at 489 million shares worth 8 trillion won ($7.15 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 748 to 115.

(Yonhap)

Analysts said Seoul shares closed lower as investors expressed concern over the outcome of the meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi.

During the session, reports showed the two may cancel their working lunch, which hinted that their meetings ended fruitless.

After the market closed, the White House announced that the two countries failed to reach any agreement.

“Reports that the two leaders canceled their lunch, and the uncertainties over the signing ceremony weighed down on construction and North Korea-related shares, having an impact on the overall market,” said Lee Jae-seung, a researcher at Samsung Securities Co. “The latest rebound in the index was also a burden.”

Foreigners offloaded a net 257 billion won, and individuals sold a net 62 billion won. Institutions bought a net 317 billion won.

South Korea’s stock markets will be closed Friday to commemorate the March 1 Independence Movement, which took place in 1919.

Samsung Electronics moved down 3.53 percent to 45,100 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix decreased 5.02 percent to 70,000 won. LG Electronics moved down 2.35 percent to 70,500 won.

Mobile carriers also closed bearish, with No. 1 SK Telecom falling 0.95 percent to 260,500 won and KT losing 0.7 percent to 28,450 won. LG Uplus decreased 1.32 percent to 15,000 won.

Top steelmaker POSCO shed 1.13 percent to 263,000 won, and Korea Zinc slid 1.72 percent to 456,500 won. Hyundai Steel moved down 2.25 percent to 49,850 won.

Pharmaceutical firms gathered ground, with Celltrion rising 0.99 percent to 204,500 won and Samsung BioLogics climbing 1.08 percent to 376,000 won. Hanmi Pharmaceutical rose 0.3 percent to 494,000 won.

Top portal operator Naver gained 2.7 percent to 133,000 won, while Kakao lost 1.43 percent to 103,500 won.

The Korean won finished at 1,124.70 won against the US greenback, down 5.6 won from the previous day’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys gained 0.5 basis point to 1.813 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds rose 0.3 basis point to 1.876 percent. (Yonhap)


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