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(LEAD) S. Korean stocks down 0.13 pct on profit-taking

All Headlines 15:55 March 04, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, March 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares dropped 0.13 percent Friday as investors sought profit-taking after local stocks gathered ground earlier this week on eased volatility in oil prices, analysts said. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) moved down 2.54 points to finish at 1,955.63. Trading volume was moderate at 312.1 million shares worth 4.49 trillion won (US$3.73 billion), with gainers beating losers 484 to 320.

Analysts said Seoul shares lost ground as investors offloaded shares amid sharp increases in stock prices observed in the previous sessions.

"There are also still issues for the full-fledged recovery of the KOSPI, including the U.S. key rates," said Lee Hyun-ju, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities Co., adding investors could have felt burdens from high share prices, which shot up earlier amid policy hopes.

Foreigners purchased a net 160 billion won, while retail investors and institutions offloaded a net 75 billion won and 132 billion won, respectively.

Steelmakers traded higher, with No. 1 POSCO adding 1.87 percent to 217,500 won and Hyundai Steel moving up 0.35 percent to 56,900 won. Korea Zinc added 1.32 percent to 459,500 won.

Tech shares closed weaker, with market behemoth Samsung Electronics falling 0.41 percent to 1,215,000 won and top chipmaker SK hynix losing 0.16 percent to 31,900 won. LG Electronics shed 1.26 percent to 62,700 won.

Mobile carriers also lost ground, with SK Telecom moving down 1.59 percent to 216,500 won and LG Uplus falling 1.92 percent to 10,200 won. KT dropped 0.35 percent to 28,600 won.

Carmakers closed bearish, with top player Hyundai Motor remaining unchanged from the previous session and Kia Motors losing 1.77 percent to 47,100 won. Hyundai Mobis declined 0.98 percent to 251,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,203.4 won against the greenback, up 11.2 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 1.8 basis points to 1.522 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond also gained 1.5 basis points to 1.631 percent.

colin@yna.co.kr
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