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Seoul shares close lower on geopolitical uncertainties

2018/05/17 15:58

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SEOUL, May 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's stock market closed lower on Thursday despite kicking off slightly higher in the session on escalating uncertainties surrounding inter-Korean relations, analysts said. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) moved down 11.37 points, or 0.46 percent, to 2,448.43. Trade volume was high at 589 million shares worth 8.1 trillion won (US$7.49 billion), with gainers outpacing losers 450 to 366.

Seoul shares closed down despite starting higher earlier in the day, as investors apparently continued to take a wait-and-see stance on the inter-Korean relationship, after Pyongyang unilaterally decided to cancel planned high-level talks with South Korea earlier this week.

Analysts, however, said there are still signs of recovery.

"It is still hopeful that concerns over a possible rupture of the summit between North Korean and the United State will ease," said Seo Sang-yong, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities Co., adding that the U.S. claimed the so-called Libya model of denuclearization will not be applied to Pyongyang.

Foreigners sold a net 270 billion won, while retail investors bought a net 145 billion won. Institutions offloaded 107 billion won in total.

Tech shares led the overall decline, with market giant Samsung Electronics slipping 0.9 percent to 49,400 won and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix losing 0.34 percent to 86,700 won.

Pharmaceutical shares also lost ground, with Celltrion falling 0.37 percent to 267,500 won and Samsung BioLogics retreating 3.86 percent to 398,000 won.

Top steelmaker POSCO lost 0.83 percent to end at 360,000 won, while Hyundai Steel edged up 2.54 percent to 64,600 won.

Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis moved up 0.21 percent to 237,500 won. Top carmaker Hyundai Mobis, on the other hand, shed 0.66 percent.

The local currency closed at 1,081.20 won against the U.S. dollar, down 3.6 won from the previous session.

colin@yna.co.kr

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