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(LEAD) Seoul shares end almost flat on China rebound

All News 15:51 January 18, 2016

(ATTN:ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed nearly flat on Monday after falling as much as 1.3 percent in morning trade, as China's stock rout took a breather. The Korean won gathered ground against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 0.42 point, or 0.02 percent, to end at 1,878.45. Trade volume was moderate at 273 million shares worth 4.06 trillion won (US$3.35 billion), with losers beating winners 428 to 386.

The index dipped to a five-month low in the morning session on an extended slide in oil prices, but rebounded on the back of institutional buying.

Global oil prices extended their slump on Friday with Brent oil dipping below $28 a barrel after international sanctions on Iran were lifted, raising woes that the supply glut will deepen down the road.

"A slide in China's stock market, coupled with the lifting of sanctions on Iran, pushed oil prices down to below $20 per barrel last week," said Kang Eu-jin, an analyst at NH Securities. "The oil slump will continue into the first quarter of the year."

Also, investor sentiment was still shaky amid lingering woes over China's stock rout.

"A further drop in local stocks is unlikely as they were oversold and their valuations are extremely low," said Lee Kyung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities.

Foreigners sold a net 341 billion won, while institutional investors scooped up a net 316 billion won.

Market heavyweights closed mixed.

Top market cap Samsung Electronics shed 0.53 percent to end at 1,126,000 won.

Global chipmaker SK hynix fell 0.37 percent to finish at 26,700 won.

Samsung C&T, the de facto holding firm of Samsung Group, advanced 5.88 percent to end at 144,000 won, and Naver, the operator of the country's top Internet portal, gained 2.54 percent to finish at 687,000 won.

No. 1 automaker Hyundai Motor rose 0.36 percent to end at 139,000 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors declined 1.72 percent to end at 48,700 won.

POSCO, the country's leading steelmaker, went up 2.17 percent to end at 165,000 won.

The local currency ended at 1,210.9 won against the greenback, up 2.5 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys shed 0.2 basis point at 1.646 percent while the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds rose 0.5 basis point to 1.798 percent.


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