South Korean Stocks Rebound After China Stock Market Volatility

Michael Song, Jan. 5, 2016, 8:47 a.m.

South Korean stocks bounced back from a four-month low on Tuesday as China's stock market rout eased on hopes that authorities may take action to stem severe volatility. The local currency fell against the greenback. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 11.77 points, or 0.61 percent, to end at 1,930.53. Trade volume was moderate at 441 million shares worth 4.09 trillion won (US$3.44 billion), with winners beating losers 463 to 349.

On Monday, the KOSPI shed more than 2 percent as investor sentiment was spooked by China's stock market crash caused by concerns over a slowdown in the world's No. 2 economy. China's stock market crashed nearly 7 percent on Monday to end at 3,296.66 points, the lowest in nearly three months, after trading was halted earlier in the day to stem a further slide.

"The local stock market suffered a setback following a stock rout in China, but such negative impacts seem to be easing," said Kim Yong-ku, an analyst at Samsung Securities. "The market is largely affected by sentiment, not by fundamentals," he said. Foreigners sold a net 189.5 billion won, while net purchases by retail investors and institutions totaled 116.7 billion won.

Tech stocks remained in positive terrain, while automakers and defensive stocks suffered losses. Top market cap Samsung Electronics added 0.25 percent to end at 1,208,000 won, and global chipmaker SK hynix gained 1.49 percent to finish at 30,600 won. POSCO, the country's top steelmaker, advanced 3.05 percent to end at 169,000 won.

In contrast, No. 1 automaker Hyundai Motor went down 0.35 percent to end at 143,500 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors declined 0.2 percent to end at 50,700 won. LG Chem, the country's top chemicals maker, shed 0.59 percent to finish at 339,500 won. The local currency ended at 1,188.00 won against the greenback, down 0.3 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 0.9 basis point to 1.643 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds increased 1.4 basis points to 1.792 percent.

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