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(LEAD) S. Korean stocks dip 1.1 percent on foreign sell-off

All Headlines 16:17 April 01, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, April 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks dropped 1.12 percent on Friday as foreign investors locked in profits by selling large cap shares, analysts said. The local currency fell sharply against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 22.28 points to close at 1,973.57. Trade volume was moderate at 378 million shares worth 4.78 trillion won (US$4.14 billion), with losers slightly outnumbering gainers 455 to 346.

The market opened higher, but caved in to foreign selling to remain in negative terrain. Foreigners' net selling came to 304 billion won.

Demand for risky assets remained firm following Fed Chair Janet Yellen's remarks about a gradual rate hike, but foreign investors seem to be tempted to lock in gains on the won's ascent to the greenback.

"Foreign investors are wary of a decline in the dollar, and unloaded shares to realize currency conversion-related profits," said Bae Sung-young, an analyst at Hyundai Securities.

Most market heavyweights were in negative territory, while cosmetics and telecom stocks closed higher.

Tech giant Samsung Electronics plunged 2.52 percent to end at 1,279,000 won.

Auto issues ended lower. Top carmaker Hyundai Motor dropped 1.97 percent to 149,500 won, while its smaller affiliate Kia Motors shed 2.59 percent to 47,050 won.

Top steelmaker POSCO was 2.73 percent lower, ending at 213,500 won, and chemical producer LG Chem ended 3.05 percent lower to 317,500 won.

In contrast, top mobile carrier SK Telecom rose 0.72 percent to finish at 210,000 won, and top cosmetics maker AmorePacific advanced 0.91 percent to end at 390,000 won.

Tobacco maker KT&G advanced 1.36 percent to end at 111,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,154.20 won against the U.S. greenback, down 10.7 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yields on three-year Treasury notes gained 0.4 basis point to 1.448 percent but the return on the benchmark five-year government bond stayed unchanged at 1.550 percent.

sam@yna.co.kr
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