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(LEAD) Seoul stocks end almost flat, key data in focus

All News 15:46 June 03, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, June 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed almost unchanged Friday as investors took to the sidelines waiting for a slew of economic data and events in the coming days. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 0.73 point, or 0.04 percent, to close at 1,985.84. Trade volume was moderate at 514 million shares worth 5.15 trillion won (US$4.35 billion), with losers outnumbering winners 434 to 381.

The local stock market opened higher on a rebound in global oil prices and a continued rise in Samsung Electronics, the country's top market cap, but a further rise was limited as investors remained cautious ahead of the release of key economic data, including U.S. job figures for May.

"This month is packed with a series of major economic events ... Investors seem to be cautious," said Kim Sung-hwan, an analyst at Bookook Securities

Samsung Electronics rose for the fourth consecutive day to end at 1,377,000 won, up 0.88 percent from the previous day's close.

Samsung C&T, the de facto holding firm of the group, jumped 7.02 percent to 122,000 won, while Samsung SDS, a key IT affiliate, dropped 10.78 percent to 149,000 won on news that its logistics business division may be spun off.

Samsung Heavy Industries shot up 6.77 percent to finish at 9,930 won on speculation that its sister firms and the group's apparent heir may join forces to salvage the embattled shipbuilder.

Automakers traded mixed, with industry leader Hyundai Motor rising 0.36 percent to 138,500 won and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors closing flat at 46,050 won.

Samsung Life Insurance, the country's top life insurer, dropped 2.38 percent to 102,500 won. LG Chem, the nation's No. 1 chemicals maker, shed 2.42 percent to 262,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,183.60 won against the U.S. dollar, up 3 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasury fell 2 basis points at 1.423 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond shed 1.9 basis points to 1.513 percent.

sam@yna.co.kr
(END)

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