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S. Korean shares close lower on foreign selling

All News 15:47 January 13, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares closed lower Friday as foreign and retail investors turned to selling on profit-taking. The local currency continued to gain ground against the U.S. greenback.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 10.35 points, or 0.50 percent, to 2,076.79. Trading volume was high at 512.7 million shares worth 4.65 trillion won (US$3.96 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 425 to 371.

Foreigners ended their buying streak that lasted 12 consecutive sessions as they apparently sought to cash in recent gains.

On Thursday, the KOSPI closed at 2,087.14, the highest since July 16, 2015.

Foreign investors dumped a net 106.6 billion won, while retail investors also sold a net 59.58 billion won.

Institutions purchased a net 162.84 billion won, ending their 11-session selling streak.

"Investors offloaded IT and chemical shares that had spearheaded the recent increase in the local market as they sought to cash in such gains," Hyundai Securities analyst Bae Sung-young said.

"They especially dumped large quantities of IT shares. It appears the news of special prosecutors considering the possible arrest of Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-yong may have negatively affected investors' sentiment," he added.

Samsung Electronics plunged 3.45 percent to 1,873,000 won, one day after soaring to a record high of 1,940,000 won.

Other large caps closed mixed.

Global chipmaker SK hynix shed 0.59 percent to 50,300 won, while top automaker Hyundai Motor advanced 0.68 percent to 149,000 won.

Cosmetics giant AmorePacific spiked 4.14 percent to 314,500 won, but No. 2 chemical maker Lotte Chem tumbled 1.77 percent to 388,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,174.70 won against the U.S. dollar, up 10.00 won from the previous session's close.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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