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(LEAD) Seoul shares marginally down on profit-taking

All News 16:08 June 09, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, June 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed 0.14 percent lower Thursday as individual investors opted to lock in gains from the previous day's increase despite earlier gains led by the central bank's surprise interest rate hike. The local currency inched up against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 2.91 points to finish at 2,024.17. Trading volume was moderate at 591.4 million shares worth 7.58 trillion won (US$6.57 billion) with decliners far outpacing advancers 525 to 300.

The main index moved in positive terrain until late morning after the Bank of Korea slashed the key rate to a new record low of 1.25 percent for June, marking the first rate cut in 12 months. Shares reached their highest level of this year and breached the 2,030 mark.

But the upward momentum did not last as individuals and institutions dumped a net 229.3 billion won and 106.1 billion won of shares, respectively. Foreigners bought a net 325.5 billion won.

"The interest rate cut is a positive factor for the stock market in the way that it provides liquidity to the market," said Cho Byung-hyun, an analyst at Yuanta Securities Korea Co. "However, it looks like there was a movement to take the profit in the short term since the market has been on an upward momentum without any particular adjustment after hitting the 1,950 mark in mid-May."

Large market caps closed mixed.

Samsung Electronics, the country's top market cap, rose for the seventh consecutive day to end at 1,430,000 won, up 1.71 percent from the previous day's close.

No. 1 automaker Hyundai Motor was down 0.36 percent at 139,000 won and top auto parts-maker Hyundai Mobis shed 0.58 percent to 255,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,156.6 won against the greenback, up 0.6 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasury fell 3.3 basis points at 1.345 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond shed 4.4 basis points to 1.425 percent.

khj@yna.co.kr
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