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Seoul stocks almost flat on profit-taking

All Headlines 15:55 September 08, 2016

SEOUL, Sept. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed almost flat Thursday, as investors sought to lock in recent gains, which were offset by a rise in top market cap Samsung Electronics, analysts said. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 1.85 points, or 0.09 percent, to close at 2,063.73. Trade volume was moderate at 651 million shares worth 5.58 trillion won (US$5.11 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 526 to 277.

The local stock market opened higher as recent economic data in the U.S. reduced the chance of the U.S. Federal Reserve beginning its rate hike as soon as this month but pared earlier gains in the face of profit-taking by retail and institutional investors.

Analysts said the local stock market is expected to move in a tight range as investors await the Federal Open Market Committee's meeting later this month.

Investors bet that the Fed will hold off on its next rate hike, probably to December, rather than raising the rates this month. The FOMC is set to meet on Sept. 20-21.

"Burdened by the year's record highs and weeklong Chuseok holiday, investors are moving to lock in recent gains," said Kim Jin-young, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities. "But improved market conditions are still in store for an additional rise."

Top market cap Samsung Electronics rose 1.11 percent to end at 1,639,000 won, and Korea Electric Power Corp. gained 0.34 percent to end at 58,700 won.

Naver, the top Internet portal operator, shed 0.34 percent to 869,000 won, and SK hynix, a major chipmaker, soared 2.11 percent to 38,700 won.

Hyundai Motor, the country's top automaker, remained unchanged at 139,000 won.

AmorePacific, the No. 1 cosmetics maker, fell 1.76 percent to 391,000 won.

POSCO, the country's No. 1 steelmaker, advanced 2.17 percent to end at 231,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,092.60 won against the U.S. dollar, down 2.6 won from the previous session's close.

sam@yna.co.kr
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