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(LEAD) Seoul stocks hit year's new highs on Samsung

All Headlines 15:55 September 06, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, Sept. 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks advanced 0.31 percent to hit this year's new highs on Tuesday, aided by a rally in top market cap Samsung Electronics, but market sentiment remained calm as investors took to the sidelines to cash in recent gains ahead of the U.S. Fed's rate decision later this month. The Korean won fell slightly against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 6.45 points to close at 2,066.53. Trade volume was moderate at 457 million shares worth 4.03 trillion won (US$3.65 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 450 to 332.

"The prospect of an imminent rate hike in the U.S. is weakening, and the local stock market is likely to be stuck in a narrow range for the time being," said Kim Jin-young, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities.

The Federal Open Market Committee is scheduled to hold its two-day rate-setting meeting that starts on Sept. 20, and likely to delay its much-awaited rate hike till December, analysts said.

Also, investors have to digest a series of key economic data to be released in the world's largest economy which may provide the clues for the rate decision, they said.

Top market cap Samsung Electronics spiked 2.3 percent to end at 1,643,000 won, on speculation that its global recall of the Galaxy Note 7 has a limited impact on the world's largest maker of smartphones.

Last week, Samsung announced an unprecedented global recall of its flagship smartphone after several of the phablets caught fire while being charged, promising to offer new replacements to all buyers at home and abroad.

Naver, the top Internet portal operator, shed 0.82 percent to 843,000 won, and SK hynix, a major chipmaker, gained 1.33 percent to 38,000 won.

Hyundai Motor, the country's top automaker, rose 0.36 percent to 139,500 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors climbed 0.95 percent to 42,700 won.

AmorePacific, the No. 1 cosmetics maker, climbed 0.51 percent dip to 398,000 won.

Hanjin Shipping, the No. 1 container shipper, closed at 1,390 won, rising by the daily permissible limit of 30 percent, as its parent Hanjin Group pledged to offer some 100 billion won in financial aid to the embattled shipper.

The local currency closed at 1,105.20 won against the U.S. dollar, down 0.1 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys shed 0.7 basis point to 1.300 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 1 basis point at 1.345 percent.

sam@yna.co.kr
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