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(LEAD) Seoul stocks edge down on profit taking

All News 16:21 January 16, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, Jan. 16 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks ended lower Monday on profit taking and concerns about a possible arrest of Samsung Group's de facto leader Lee Jae-yong over bribery charges. The local currency fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index fell 12.62 points, or 0.61 percent, to end at 2064.17.

Bae Sung-young, an analyst at KB Securities Co., said investors sold technology and chemical stocks on profit taking, pulling down the main index.

"In particular, foreigners shed shares in Samsung Electronics Co. and SK hynix Inc., putting a downward pressure on the main index," said Kim Ye-eun, an analyst at Cape Investment & Securities Co.

She said the move showed foreign investors were concerned about a possible arrest of Lee Jae-yong, Samsung Group's heir apparent, on charges of bribery, embezzlement and perjury in connection with an influence-peddling scandal that led to President Park Geun-hye's impeachment last month.

Most large-cap stocks were mixed across the board.

Market bellwether No. 1 chipmaker Samsung Electronics Co. fell 2.14 percent to 1,833,000 won and No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix Inc. was down 1.99 percent to 49,300 won.

But top automaker Hyundai Motor gained 1.01 percent to 150,500 won and Naver, the top Internet portal operator, was up 0.51 percent to 794,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,182.10 won against the U.S. dollar, down 7.40 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, were mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 0.2 basis point to 1.633 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond rose 0.4 basis point to 1.814 percent.


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