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(LEAD) Seoul stocks almost flat ahead of key data release

All News 15:57 June 01, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed little changed Wednesday as investors took to the sidelines waiting for a slew of economic data and events coming this week. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 0.68 point, or 0.03 percent, to close at 1,982.72. Trade volume was moderate at 496 million shares worth 5.31 trillion won (US$4.45 billion), with gainers outpacing losers 447 to 363.

On Tuesday, U.S. stocks dropped as investors remained cautious ahead of the release of key economic data, including the U.S. jobs report for May, and oil prices slipped.

"This week is swamped with key economic data, and investors will not be active in trading," said Lee Chun-hee, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities.

Utility, telecom and logistics stocks suffered losses, while techs and medical stocks advanced.

Top market cap Samsung Electronics shot up 3.17 percent to 1,333,000 won, rising for the second consecutive day, on the back of continued foreign buying. Among gainers, top steelmaker POSCO advanced 0.48 percent to 209,000 won.

But the state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. dropped 3.97 percent to end at 60,400 won, and the No. 1 automaker Hyundai Motor shed 1.08 percent to 138,000 won.

Naver, the operator of the country's top Internet portal, sank 4.58 percent to 687,000 won on news that its Japanese affiliate is set to go public in Japan during the summer.

SK Telecom, the country's No. 1 mobile operator, tumbled 1.58 percent to end at 218,500 won.

Hyundai Merchant Marine snapped a two-day bullish run to close at 17,500 won, down 2.78 percent, as investors locked in gains.

The local currency closed at 1,193.00 won against the U.S. dollar, down 1.3 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasury dropped 5.8 basis points at 1.438 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 5.9 basis points to 1.525 percent.

sam@yna.co.kr
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