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(LEAD) S. Korean stocks up 0.55 pct on foreign buying binge

All Headlines 15:56 March 03, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, March 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares advanced 0.55 percent Thursday as foreign investors scooped up undervalued shares amid stabilized global oil prices and financial markets, analysts said. The local currency sharply rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) moved up 10.75 points to finish at 1,958.17. Trading volume was moderate at 417.5 million shares worth 4.9 trillion won (US$4 billion), with gainers beating losers 517 to 292.

Top picks for foreigners were tech, chemicals firms and steelmakers, which have been under selling pressure.

Foreigners purchased a net 496 billion won, while retail investors and institutions offloaded a net 315 billion won and 234 billion won, respectively.

"Overseas investors are expected to maintain their buying mode following the 're-rating' of local shares amid increased dividends to shareholders," said Choi Jin-yuk, an analyst at SK Securities Co. "Investors are also looking forward to the upcoming European Central Bank and Federal Open Market Committee."

Tech shares closed bullish, with Samsung Electronics moving up 1.92 percent to 1,220,000 won and SK hynix increasing 3.23 percent 31,950 won. Samsung Electro-Mechanics advanced 2.95 percent to 55,800 won.

Builders also traded higher, with Hyundai Engineering & Construction advancing 3.81 percent to 40,900 won and Daelim Industrial moving up 4.46 percent to 86,700 won. Daewoo Engineering & Construction added 12.91 percent to 6,210 won.

Logistics stocks also gained ground, with Hyundai Glovis increasing 0.26 percent to 193,000 won and Korean Air edging up 4.77 percent to 27,450 won. Asiana Airlines advanced 5.47 percent to 4,820 won.

Mobile carriers closed mixed, with No. 1 SK Telecom falling 1.35 percent to 220,000 won, while LG Uplus climbed 1.96 percent to 10,400 won. KT moved down 0.69 percent to 28,700 won.

The local currency closed at 1,214.6 won against the greenback, up 12.9 won from the previous session's close on the back of a foreign buying binge.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 3.5 basis points to 1.504 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond also gained 3.8 basis points to 1.616 percent.

colin@yna.co.kr
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