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(LEAD) Seoul stocks end slightly higher on foreign buying

All News 15:56 January 04, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, Jan. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks finished slightly higher on Wednesday as foreign investors remained net buyers, while Samsung Electronics retreated from an all-time high in the previous session. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 1.67 points, or 0.08 percent, to close at 2,045.64. Trade volume was moderate at 368 million shares worth 4 trillion won (US$3.3 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 477 to 334.

The local stock market opened lower on profit-taking, and the main stock index swung between gains and losses as investors took a breather following gains in the previous session.

Investors also took to the sidelines ahead of a release of the December minutes of the Federal Reserve.

Kim Yong-koo, an analyst at Hana Financial Investment, said the local stock market has been under pressure as the U.S. dollar continues to strengthen.

Samsung Electronics fell 0.88 percent to end at 1,808,000 won, and AmorePacific, the No. 1 cosmetics maker, fell 0.48 percent to 311,000 won.

SK hynix, a global chipmaker, declined 1.59 percent to 46,500 won.

Naver, the operator of the country's top Internet portal, jumped 5.61 percent to 810,000 won.

Automakers traded in positive terrain, with industry leader Hyundai Motor up 0.65 percent to 154,000 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors gaining 1.35 percent to 41,300 won.

The local currency closed at 1,206.35 won against the U.S. dollar, down 2.85 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys gained 1.3 basis points to 1.630 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 2.5 basis points to 1.807 percent.

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