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S. Korean stocks up 0.35 pct on techs and autos

All Headlines 15:29 March 09, 2016

SEOUL, March 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares increased 0.35 percent on Wednesday, led by gains in automakers and technology firms, shrugging off concerns over a slowdown in the global economy, analysts said. The local currency sharply fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 6.83 points to finish at 1,952.95. Trading volume was moderate at 346 million shares worth 4.12 trillion won (US$3.39 billion), with gainers beating losers 459 to 335.

"The local stock market has fared well in the past few days on hopes for concerted moves by central banks, but investors are growingly taking to the sidelines ahead of key economic events," said Lee Jun-hee, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities.

On Thursday, data from China, South Korea's largest trading partner, showed that exports by the world's No. 2 economy suffered the sharpest drop since May 2009, stoking worries that its economic growth is still fragile.

Investors also have to digest a series of major economic events, such as the meetings of the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of Korea slated for Thursday and the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)'s rate-setting gathering next week.

Foreigners sold a net 21 billion won and institutional investors sold off a net 24 billion won.

Technology firms and automakers firms remained in positive terrain, while steelmakers came under selling pressure.

Market behemoth Samsung Electronics rose 0.17 percent to end at 1,194,000 won, with global chipmaker SK hynix adding 0.16 percent to 30,550 won.

The state-run utility firm, the Korea Electric Power Corp., advanced 2.68 percent to 57,400 won.

Carmakers traded bullish, with top player Hyundai Motor advancing 1.01 percent to 149,500 won and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors rising 3.6 percent to 48,950 won.

Steelmakers suffered sharp drops, with No. 1 POSCO dipping 3.38 percent to 214,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,216.2 won against the greenback, down 9.5 won from the previous session's close, due to risk-averse sentiment.

sam@yna.co.kr
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