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(LEAD) Seoul stocks tumble amid escalating trade tensions

All Headlines 16:38 July 11, 2018

(ATTN: ADDS photo, bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, July 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed lower Wednesday to end a three-day winning streak after the United States announced its plan to impose additional tariffs on Chinese products, analysts said. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) sank 13.54 points, or 0.59 percent, to close at 2,280.62. Trade volume was moderate at 419 million shares worth 5.6 trillion won (US$5 billion), with losers outnumbering winners 497 to 321.

The local stock market opened lower amid concerns over the trade war between the world's two largest economies and went further south late in the afternoon as institutions went on a selling spree.

Following the U.S. announcement to impose an additional $200 billion of tariffs on Chinese imports, Beijing has vowed to take retaliatory actions, without elaborating on details.

"The trade issue seems to have triggered investors to lock in recent gains after three consecutive sessions of gains," said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities.

Institutions sold a net 190 billion won worth of local stocks, while individual investors and foreigners scooped up a net 134.7 billion won and 31 billion won worth of shares, respectively.

Most large-cap shares were bearish across the board, with top cap Samsung Electronics surrendering 0.65 percent to end at 46,000 won. SK hynix, a major chipmaker, was down 0.57 percent to 86,800 won.

LG Display edged up 0.51 percent to 19,700 won after the flat panel maker announced the previous day that it won approval from the Beijing government to establish a joint venture to launch an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panel plant in China.

KB Financial Group retreated 1.28 percent to 53,800 won, and Shinhan Financial Group remained unchanged at 44,550 won.

Autos were also in negative terrain with No. 1 automaker Hyundai Motor declining 1.62 percent to 121,500 won. Its smaller affiliate Kia Motors was down 0.64 percent to 30,900 won.

Ssangyong Motor, meanwhile, jumped 4.74 percent to close at 4,750 won after its parent firm Mahindra Group's chairman Anand Mahindra unveiled a new investment plan for the carmaker during his meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in India. Mahindra said a total of 1.3 trillion won will be invested in SsangYong Motor within the next three to four years.

Bio shares lost ground with pharmaceutical giant Celltrion declining 1.6 percent to close at 276,500 won, and Samsung Biologics, the health care unit of Samsung Group, dropping 0.48 percent to 415,000 won.

Top steelmaker POSCO was up 0.97 percent to 312,000 won, and Naver, the country's largest portal operator, added 1.18 percent to 769,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,120.00 won against the U.S. dollar, down 4 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 4.1 basis points to 2.054 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds declined 4.5 basis points to 2.301 percent.

An electronic sign at KEB Hana Bank in Seoul shows the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ending the trading session at 2,280.62 on July 11, 2018. (Yonhap)

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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