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(LEAD) S. Korean shares end lower on U.S. rate uncertainty

All Headlines 15:53 August 31, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, Aug. 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed slightly lower Wednesday, as institutional investors offloaded shares amid uncertainty over the U.S. monetary policy. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 5.09 points, or 0.25 percent, to 2,034.65. Trade volume came to 396.12 million shares worth 5.39 trillion won (US$4.8 billion), with decliners outnumbering advancers 494 to 322.

Institutions net-sold 9.3 billion won worth of stocks, while foreigners and individuals bought a net 20.2 billion won and 10.9 billion won worth of stocks, respectively.

Analysts here cited traders' prudent stance and a lack of momentum for causing the KOSPI to drop.

"The U.S. rate-hike issue persists. Chances are high that the market will waver in accordance with economic data to be released before the September meeting of the FOMC," said Lee Joon-hee, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities Co. "Investors' wait-and-see attitude is likely to continue for the time being."

Large caps ended mixed, with market bellwether Samsung Electronics dropping 1.52 percent to 1,620,000 won.

Leading automaker Hyundai Motor gained 0.38 percent to 133,000 won. The state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. also rose 0.69 percent to 58,000 won.

Hanjin Shipping, the nation's leading but troubled shipper, was suspended as it decided to file for court protection a day after its creditors decided not to offer additional financial support.

Its local rival Hyundai Merchant Marine jumped 25.57 percent to 9,330 won.

Korean Air Lines Co., Hanjin Shipping's largest shareholder, pared much of its earlier gains to end at 31,550 won, up 1.45 percent from a day earlier.

The local currency closed at 1,115.00 won against the U.S. dollar, up 4.90 won from the previous session.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys gained 2.5 basis points to 1.308 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 4.4 basis points to 1.354 percent.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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