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(LEAD) Korean shares edge up on institutional buying

All News 16:05 January 17, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, Jan. 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares ended higher Tuesday, as market bellwether Samsung Electronics rebounded despite its leadership crisis. The South Korean currency rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index gained 7.7 points, or 0.37 percent, to 2,071.87, snapping a two-day losing streak.

It was helped by Samsung's rise after declining two sessions in a row. On Monday, special prosecutors requested an arrest warrant for Samsung's vice chairman and heir-apparent Lee Jae-yong on bribery, embezzlement and perjury charges, as they are investigating an influence-peddling scandal involving President Park Geun-hye. A Seoul court will soon make the decision on whether to issue the warrant.

Trade volume came to 593.8 million shares worth 4.1 trillion won (US$3.4 billion), with decliners outnumbering advancers 405 to 395.

Institutions net-purchased 90.1 billion won worth of stocks, while foreigners and individuals sold a net 8 billion won and 82.5 billion won worth of shares, respectively.

"IT-related shares, which suffered adjustment recently, are also bouncing back," said Lee Kyung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities. "Investors also seem to perceive that the so-called CEO risk is not associated with the fundamentals of a corporation."

The KOSPI's uptick, however, was limited by uncertainty over the economic policy of the Donald Trump administration, which will launch later this week. Foreigners offloaded stocks for the third consecutive session.

Samsung Electronics gained 0.82 percent to 1,848,000 won, and global chipmaker SK hynix was flat at 49,300 won.

Leading automaker Hyundai Motor advanced 1.99 percent to 153,500 won, while state-run utility firm Korea Electric Power Corp. declined 0.45 percent to 44,200 won.

Top life insurer Samsung Life jumped 3.12 percent to 115,500 won, but the No. 1 steelmaker POSCO shed 0.93 percent to 265,000 won.

Kumho Tire tumbled 4.57 percent to 8,780 won apparently on another round of profit-taking in the wake of news reports that Doublestar Tyre, a Chinese tiremaker, has been chosen as the preferential bidder for its controlling stake up for sale.

The South Korean currency closed at 1,174.45 won against the U.S. dollar, up 7.65 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 0.5 basis point to 1.628 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond lost 0.6 basis points to 1.808 percent.


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