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(LEAD) Seoul stocks inch up on tech gains

All News 15:55 July 18, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, July 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks rose slightly Monday as Samsung Electronics and other tech stocks continued to advance, offsetting a decline in automakers and other market heavyweights. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 3.85 points, or 0.19 percent, to close at 2,021.11. Trade volume was moderate at 376 million shares worth 3.49 trillion won (US$3.07 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 443 to 355.

The local stock market opened lower on profit-taking. Last week, the KOSPI surged 2.76 percent on the back of foreigners' buying binge and Samsung Electronics Co.'s continued rise.

Also, investors took to the sidelines ahead of the European Central Bank's policy meeting slated for Thursday. But in the afternoon session, foreign investors' buying helped the market end in positive terrain, while cautious sentiment may persist this week, they said.

"Market uncertainty may emerge again and foreign investors will be tempted to cash in on recent gains," said Lee Kyong-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities.

Foreign investors scooped up a net 218 billion won worth of local stocks, extending their buying binge to an eighth consecutive session.

Samsung Electronics rose 0.99 percent to end at 1,533,000 won, and AmorePacific, the No. 1 cosmetics maker, fell 0.24 percent to 423,000 won.

SK hynix, a global chipmaker, edged up 0.15 percent to 32,750 won.

Naver, the operator of the country's top Internet portal, shed 0.56 percent at 712,000 won.

Automakers traded in negative terrain, with industry leader Hyundai Motor down 0.75 percent to 132,000 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors dipping 1.31 percent at 41,350 won.

The local currency closed at 1,136.40 won against the U.S. dollar, down 2.5 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys gained 0.8 basis point to 1.229 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 1.2 basis points to 1.253 percent.

sam@yna.co.kr
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