Biotech and pharmaceutical shares plunged on Tuesday, hurt mainly by the overall Korean stock losses.
The benchmark KOSPI fell by 55.61 points, or 2.57 percent, to close at 2,106.10 on Thursday. The secondary KOSDAQ also dropped by 25.15 points, or 3.38 percent, to end at 719.
Pharmaceutical stocks went bearish, both on the two markets.
On KOSPI, Celltrion plummeted 8.19 percent, Hanmi Science, 6.63 percent, Samsung BioLogics, 6.6 percent, Kukje Pharma, 6.41 percent, Samil Pharmaceutical, 6.4 percent, and YuYu Pharma, 6.23 percent.
On KOSDAQ, GL Pharm Tech lost 9.21 percent, Corestem, 7.82 percent, ChoA Pharmaceutical, 7.39 percent, SillaJen, 7.39 percent, Celltrion Healthcare, 7.23 percent, Prostemics, 7.05 percent, Tego Science, 6.79 percent, Green Cross Cell, 6.19 percent, and Medytox, 6.14 percent.
The local stock declines were attributed to fears over the possibility of a trade dispute prolonging between the U.S. and China, a recent conflict between the European Union and Italy over budget issues, and uncertainties coming from the upcoming U.S. elections, analysts said.
Biotech and pharmaceutical shares were particularly hit hard by Temasek’s selling off 3.62 million shares of Celltrion in a block deal before the opening of the stock market, they said. Temasek is Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund and the second-largest shareholder of Celltrion.
“The overall drop in pharmaceutical and biotech shares was affected by the nosediving of local stocks,” an analyst said. “The selling spree of foreign investors drove the decline. Foreign investors are particularly more sensitive to negative issues.”
After Temasek’s block deal, foreign investors net-sold 1.52 million shares, while institutional investors and retail investors net-purchased 989,000 and 511,000 shares, respectively.
“Generally, when foreign investors sell, individual and institutional investors who were waiting for low points tend to buy. It may seem that net-buying could offset net-selling, but that can’t stop stocks from going down,” the analyst said.
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