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(LEAD) S. Korean shares end lower on foreign sell-offs

All Headlines 15:58 September 01, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, Sept. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed marginally lower Thursday, as foreigners offloaded shares. The local currency fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 1.93 points, or 0.09 percent, to 2,032.72. Trade volume came to 297.42 million shares worth 4.31 trillion won (US$3.8 billion), with advancers outnumbering decliners 481 to 324.

Foreigners net-sold 140.7 billion won worth of stocks, while individuals and institutions bought a net 98.9 billion won and 38.5 billion won worth of stocks, respectively.

The market is especially awaiting the U.S. employment data for August to be issued on Friday for a further hint of how soon the Federal Reserve will raise the key interest rate.

"It can be a key point in predicting if a rate hike is possible in September," said Kim Jing-young, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities Co. "In the short term, however, the KOSPI may continue to proceed with no clear direction."

Yoo Seung-min, an analyst at Samsung Securities Co., also said the KOSPI will likely stay in a tight range throughout this month.

"The KOSPI is expected to waver between 1,980 and 2,080 points in September," he said. "Improved corporate earnings are positive but more time is needed for the KOSPI to rise above the range, which requires the recovery of fundamentals."

Many large caps ended in negative terrain.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics dropped 2.04 percent to 1,587,000 won and leading automaker Hyundai Motor lost 1.13 percent to 131,500 won.

The state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. slid 0.86 percent to 57,500 won, while POSCO, a major steelmaker, gained 0.43 percent to 232,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,122.10 won against the U.S. dollar, down 7.30 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 1.333 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 2.6 basis points to 1.380 percent.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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