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(LEAD) Korean shares tick down on cautious sentiment

All News 16:08 January 18, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares ended slightly lower after wavering between gains and losses. The South Korean currency rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index lost 1.33 points, or 0.06 percent, to 2,070.54.

Trade volume came to 523.9 million shares worth 3.9 trillion won (US$3.4 billion), with advancers outnumbering decliners 436 to 345.

Institutions net-purchased 86.1 billion won worth of stocks, while foreigners and individuals sold a net 19 billion won and 69 billion won worth of shares, respectively.

The KOPSI was choppy throughout the session. It started lower amid concerns about the incoming U.S. administration's policy and the impact of a widening investigation into the allegations that some conglomerates here bribed President Park Geun-hye.

But it rebounded as foreigners and institutions shifted to net-buying, while individuals continued to offload stocks.

"Britain declared a 'hard Brexit' but it had no big impact on the global stock market," Kim Yong-koo, an analyst at Hana Financial Investment & Securities, said. "Investors are taking a wait-and-see attitude due to the possible arrest of Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong and uncertainty about Trump's policy."

A Seoul court is reviewing whether to issue an arrest warrant for Lee on bribery, embezzlement and perjury charges.

Top cap Samsung Electronics dropped 0.05 percent to 1,847,000 won and global chipmaker SK hynix was off 0.91 percent to 48,850 won.

Leading automaker Hyundai Motor advanced 0.33 percent to 154,000 won, while state-run utility firm Korea Electric Power Corp. declined 1.25 percent to 43,600 won.

LG Chem, the country's top chemicals firm, lost 2.51 percent to 271,500 won and cosmetics maker AmorePacific shed 1.40 percent to 316,000 won.

The South Korean currency closed at 1,166.75 won against the U.S. dollar, up 7.75 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys ascended 2.1 basis points to 1.649 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond rose 1.9 basis points to 1.827 percent.


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