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(LEAD) S. Korean shares tick up on foreign buying

All Headlines 15:52 September 02, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, Sept. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks ended marginally higher Friday, helped by foreigners' buying, hours before the release of key U.S. jobs data. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) edged up 5.59 points, or 0.28 percent, to 2,038.31. Trade volume came to 340.27 million shares worth 3.88 trillion won (US$3.48 billion), with advancers outnumbering decliners 497 to 323.

Foreigners net-purchased 217.3 billion won worth of stocks, while institutions and individuals sold a net 192.7 billion won and 19.3 billion won worth of stocks, respectively.

The KOSPI's advance came after recording a two-day losing streak amid uncertainty over the timing of the U.S. interest-rate hike.

Traders will closely watch the U.S. payrolls report for August to be issued at night (Seoul time) for clues to the Fed's decision in the coming weeks or months.

"A wait-and-see sentiment is expected to keep growing ahead of the September FOMC meeting," said Bae Seong-young, an equity analyst at Hyundai Securities Co. "The KOSPI will repeat limited gains and losses for the time being."

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 0.63 percent to 1,597,000 won, and leading automaker Hyundai Motor added 2.66 percent to 135,000 won.

Amore Pacific, the top cosmetics maker, advanced 2.65 percent to 406,000 won, while the state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. slid 0.70 percent to 57,100 won. POSCO, a major steelmaker, lost 0.43 percent to 231,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,117.20 won against the U.S. dollar, up 4.90 won from the previous session.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys shed 0.7 basis point to 1.326 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond was unchanged at 1.380 percent.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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