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(LEAD) S. Korean stocks close higher on foreigners after trading flat

All Headlines 16:13 April 04, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, April 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares closed higher Monday on the back of foreigners, although the market traded sluggish earlier in the session as investors eyed the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) March minutes to be announced later this week, analysts said. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) moved up 5.4 points, or 0.27 percent to finish at 1,978.97. Trading volume was moderate at 357.9 million shares worth 4.21 trillion won (US$3.73 billion), with gainers beating losers 484 to 320.

Analysts said Seoul shares gained ground on the back of the overseas investors who turned to net buyers in the afternoon. Listed firms traded flat earlier in the session as investors awaited the announcement of the FOMC's March minutes.

The scheduled release of the first-quarter performances of listed firms also limited growth. Market giant Samsung Electronics is set to announce its earnings guidance on Thursday.

"Overseas investors are going through short-term changes as they seek to take profits," said Bae Sung-young, an analyst at Hyundai Securities Co. said, adding the market will continue to experience fluctuations as investors continue to take a wait-and-see approach on large-cap shares.

Foreigners purchased a net 57.4 billion won, and retail investors scooped up a net 61.1 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 192.8 billion won.

Carmakers closed weaker due mainly to the gloomy first-quarter earnings outlook. No. 1 Hyundai Motor shed 3.68 percent to 144,000 won while Kia Motors moved down 2.66 percent to 45,800 won. Top auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis shed 3.14 percent to 231,500 won.

Hyundai Merchant Marine, which has been facing financial problems, moved down 4.61 percent to 2,070 won.

Tech shares closed higher, with Samsung Electronics moving up 2.03 percent to 1,305,000 won and LG Electronics rising 3.12 percent to 62,800 won. LG Display advanced 0.19 percent to 26,400 won.

Steelmakers closed mixed, with No. 1 POSCO rising 2.58 percent to 219,000 won while Korea Zinc shed 0.42 percent to 471,500 won. Hyundai Steel remained unchanged at 54,700 won.

The local currency closed at 1,146.10 won against the greenback, up 8.1 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yields on three-year Treasury notes lost 0.8 basis point to 1.440 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond shed 1.4 basis points to 1.536 percent.

colin@yna.co.kr
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