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(LEAD) Korean shares tick up on foreign buying

All News 16:02 January 19, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, Jan. 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares ended modestly higher Thursday on the return of foreigners. The South Korean currency fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 2.25 points, or 0.11 percent, to 2,072.79.

Trade volume came to 410.3 million shares worth 4 trillion won (US$3.4 billion), with decliners outnumbering advancers 488 to 322.

Foreigners turned to net buying after the fourth consecutive session of net selling, although it was offset by institutional investors' massive selling.

Institutions net-sold 283.4 billion won worth of stocks, while foreigners and individuals purchased a net 147.5 billion won and 128.8 billion won worth of shares, respectively.

The KOSPI took a roller coaster ride throughout the session. It started higher on eased concerns about a possible leadership crisis at Samsung Electronics.

Traders also digested Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's support for rate hikes but talk of a "gradual" approach.

Market watchers said investors are expected to remain cautious for the time being, with Donald Trump scheduled to be sworn in as the new U.S. president later this week.

"The direction of the KOSPI will likely be set only after the big event of Trump's inauguration ceremony," said Bookook Securities analyst Kim Sung-hwan. "From the technical point of view, the index is seen as taking a breather in the upper side of the tight range."

Top cap Samsung Electronics gained 1.46 percent to 1,874,000 won and global chipmaker SK hynix was up 1.54 percent to 49,600 won.

Leading automaker Hyundai Motor dipped 1.30 percent to 152,000 won, and state-run utility firm Korea Electric Power Corp. declined 0.57 percent to 43,350 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis sank 1.95 percent to 277,000 won.

The South Korean currency closed at 1,177.60 won against the U.S. dollar, down 10.90 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys ascended 2.8 basis points to 1.677 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond rose 4.9 basis points to 1.876 percent.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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