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(LEAD) Seoul stocks gain on Samsung, foreign buying

All News 15:54 January 06, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, Jan. 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks advanced Friday on the back of upbeat earnings guidance by Samsung Electronics and foreign investors buying shares for an eighth consecutive session. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 7.17 points, or 0.35 percent, to close at 2,049.12. Trade volume was moderate at 447 million shares worth 3.36 trillion won (US$2.82 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 417 to 379.

The local stock market opened higher shortly after Samsung Electronics predicted that its fourth-quarter operating profit last year may have surged nearly 50 percent on year to 9.2 trillion won.

The forecast beat analysts' expectations. A strong rebound in semiconductor prices and high-end display panels is expected to have helped Samsung boost profits.

Lee Seung-woo, an analyst at IBK Investment & Securities, said the handsome results by Samsung are believed to be driven by strong sales of memory chips and the Korean won's weakness against the U.S. dollar.

Samsung Electronics gained 1.8 percent to end at 1,810,000 won and SK hynix, a global chipmaker, rose 2.4 percent to 48,000 won.

Naver, the operator of the country's top Internet portal, climbed 1.01 percent to 799,000 won.

In contrast, automakers traded in negative terrain, with industry leader Hyundai Motor down 1.63 percent to 151,000 won and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors dipping 0.85 percent to 40,750 won.

The local currency closed at 1,193.00 won against the U.S. dollar, down 6.7 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher.

The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 0.1 basis point to 1.606 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond declined 0.6 basis point to 1.773 percent.

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