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(LEAD) S. Korean stocks close lower on foreign selling

All Headlines 16:04 August 25, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, Aug. 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares closed a tad lower Thursday as foreigners turned to selling amid concerns of a U.S. rate hike that might cause the value of U.S. dollars to go up, and thus the value of their stock holding here down. The local currency gained ground against the U.S. greenback.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 0.84 point, or 0.04 percent, to 2,042.92. Trading volume was slim at 274.6 million shares, worth 4.12 trillion won (US$3.69 billion) as investors apparently assumed a wait-and-see mode amid growing concerns over a possible U.S. rate hike in the near future. Losers outnumbered gainers 450 to 338.

The index opened slightly lower, tracking overnight losses on Wall Street.

Market analysts here said recent cuts in global oil prices and a possible U.S. rate hike may have spooked investor sentiments here and in the United States.

"The local market is especially sensitive to global conditions, and looking at recent movements by foreign investors here shows their behaviors are deeply related to global oil prices," Kiwoom Securities analyst Hong Chun-uk said.

The U.S. earlier said its crude stockpiles jumped nearly 4.5 million barrels last week, causing oil prices to plunge.

On Wednesday, the price of Dubai crude, South Korea's benchmark, tumbled 3.14 percent to $45.38 per barrel.

"There is a positive sign for the local stock market that local companies produced better than anticipated earnings results in the second quarter, but as seen over the past couple of days, it is hard to expect a rise in the KOSPI when foreigners begin to sell," Hong said.

Foreign investors dumped a net 320.7 billion won worth of local shares, following their net sales of 47.54 billion won in the previous session.

Institutions purchased a net 253 billion won, ending their selling streak of seven consecutive sessions. Retail investors sold a net 1.6 billion won.

Large caps closed mixed.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics continues to lose for two consecutive sessions after reaching a record high of 1,687,000 won on Tuesday.

Samsung shares shed 0.85 percent to close at 1,639,000 won, while top automaker Hyundai Motor added 0.74 percent to 136,500 won after the company announced reaching a tentative deal in wage negotiations with its unionized workers.

Top portal operator Naver lost 0.99 percent to 804,000 won, while cosmetics giant AmorePacific plunged 1.95 percent to 377,000 won.

Bank issues put on a strong performance with Shinhan Financial adding 1.88 percent to 40,600 won, while KB Financial spiked 3.39 percent to 38,100 won.

The local currency closed at 1,115.90 won against the U.S. dollar, up 6.10 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys gained 0.7 basis point to 1.236 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 0.8 basis point to 1.263 percent.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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