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(LEAD) Seoul stocks down for 4th day on profit-taking

All News 15:48 July 22, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, July 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks fell slightly on Friday, sliding for a fourth consecutive session as investors sought to cash in on last week's surge and the European Central Bank (ECB) did not roll out much-awaited boosting measures. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 1.88 points, or 0.09 percent, to close at 2,010.34. Trade volume was light at 316 million shares worth 3.69 trillion won (US$3.25 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 413 to 366.

Following last week's surge on the back of strong foreign buying and a rise in Samsung Electronics, the local stock market has been stuck in a tight range as investors sought to lock in gains.

Also, an overnight slide in the U.S. stock market, caused by poor earnings reports from major firms such as Intel, dented investor sentiment. ECB chief Mario Draghi did not unveil any specific steps to counter potential fallout following Britain's vote to leave the European Union while vowing to mobilize all measures, if necessary.

"Following a surge seen last week, upward momentum is weakening and it is natural to digest it," said Lee Jun-hee, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities. "But the local stock market may attempt a rise down the road given favorable conditions."

Foreign investors scooped up a net 149 billion won worth of local stocks, extending their buying binge to a 12th consecutive session.

Top market cap Samsung Electronics dropped 1.75 percent to end at 1,516,000 won, and AmorePacific, the No. 1 cosmetics maker, rose 0.36 percent to 414,500 won.

SK hynix, a major chipmaker, fell 0.47 percent to 32,000 won.

Naver, the operator of the country's top internet portal, rose 0.14 percent to 705,000 won, and POSCO, the country's top steelmaker, advanced 1.86 percent to end at 219,500 won.

Automakers traded in negative terrain, with industry leader Hyundai Motor down 0.77 percent to 129,000 won. Hyundai Motor workers staged a partial strike for a fourth straight day demanding a pay raise and better working conditions.

The local currency closed at 1,134.40 won against the U.S. dollar, up 1.5 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 0.6 basis point to 1.227 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond shed 1.2 basis points to 1.252 percent.

sam@yna.co.kr
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