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(LEAD) Korean shares edge down on cautious mood

All News 16:05 January 20, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, Jan. 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares ended slightly lower on Friday amid a cautious note, hours before U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration. The South Korean currency rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 7.18 points, or 0.35 percent, to 2,065.61.

Trade volume came to 398.1 million shares worth 4 trillion won (US$3.4 billion).

Foreigners net-sold 484.2 billion won worth of stocks, while individuals and institutions purchased a net 51.3 billion won and 407.1 billion won worth of shares, respectively.

"Investors are apparently awaiting Trump's inauguration speech tonight," said Kim Yong-koo, an analyst at Hana Financial Investment & Securities. "They are taking a wait-and-see attitude, leaving the index in no clear direction."

Top cap Samsung Electronics lost 0.75 percent to 1,860,000 won, and global chipmaker SK hynix was off 0.91 percent to 49,150 won.

Leading automaker Hyundai Motor advanced 0.66 percent to 153,000 won, with the state-run utility firm Korea Electric Power Corp. declining 0.23 percent to 43,250 won. Cosmetics maker AmorePacific added 2.57 percent to 319,000 won.

Retail giant Lotte Group shares soared on expectations for its plans to improve the governance structure with a formal holding firm.

Lotte Shopping surged 5.08 percent to 227,500 won, and Lotte Confectionery jumped 9.86 percent to 195,000 won, with Lotte Chilsung Beverage climbing 3.76 percent to 1,464,000 won.

The South Korean currency closed at 1,169.30 won against the U.S. dollar, up 8.30 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys shed 2.2 basis points to 1.655 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond decreased 3.1 basis points to 1.845 percent.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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