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(LEAD) S. Korean shares slip ahead of U.S. jobs report

All News 15:54 October 07, 2016

SEOUL, Oct. 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks retreated Friday as investors took to the sidelines, awaiting the U.S. jobs report to get clues on when the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates. The Korean won fell against the greenback.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 11.5 points, or 0.56 percent, to close at 2,053.8. Trade volume was moderate at 417.85 million shares worth 5.14 trillion won (US4.61 billion), with decliners far beating gainers 611 to 199.

Investors remained cautious ahead of U.S. nonfarm payroll report due later in the day, which analysts expect will show a solid gain of 176,000 jobs last month. Market watchers expect robust data will raise the chance of an interest rate hike within this year.

"Investors sold high-priced health care and cosmetics shares, while picking up stocks that are expected to post better earnings thanks to rising oil prices ahead of the earnings season," Bae Sung-young, an analyst at Hyundai Securities, said. "Samsung Electronics' third-quarter guidance exceeded market expectations despite the Galaxy 7 Note recall, which helped further lift its share prices."

Foreigners and retail investors each bought a net 37.85 billion won and 196.22 billion won, while institutions sold a net 236.15 billion won.

Most market heavyweights were down, while Samsung affiliates were bullish after U.S. hedge fund Elliott Management on Thursday urged Samsung Electronics to streamline its corporate structure and increase returns to shareholders.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics rose 0.89 percent to close at a record high of 1,706,000 won after posting upbeat third-quarter earnings guidance on its memory chip and display businesses despite a global recall of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones.

Samsung C&T, a construction arm that serves as the group's de-facto holding firm, surged 0.91 percent to 154,500 won on hopes that the U.S. activist fund's demand could raise shareholder value of South Korea's largest conglomerate.

In contrast, cosmetics slumped as prospect of weak earnings dented their shares.

No. 1 AmorePacific dropped 5.64 percent to 359,500 won and its smaller rival LG Household & Healthcare tumbled 5.41 percent to 891,000 won.

LG Electronics, the nation's second-largest electronics maker, retreated 0.41 percent to 48,400 won after it released a weak third-quarter earnings estimate due to its sluggish handset business.

The local currency closed at 1,115.5 won against the U.S. dollar, down 3.3 won from Thursday's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 0.5 basis point to 1.326 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 0.2 basis point to 1.343 percent.


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