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(LEAD) Seoul stocks edge down on risk-off sentiment

All Headlines 16:26 April 07, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, April 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks finished slightly lower Friday, as investors took to the sidelines amid a series of events, such as the U.S.-China summit, analysts said. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 1.02 points, or 0.05 percent, to close at 2,151.73. Trade volume was slim at 389 million shares worth 3.84 trillion won (US$3.38 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 452 to 326.

The local stock market opened a tad lower and continued to move in and out of negative terrain following news that the U.S. launched cruise missile strikes on an airbase in Syria, which prodded investors to reduce risky bets.

Samsung Electronics, the country's top market cap, remained bearish on profit-taking, although the tech behemoth reported a strong first-quarter earnings estimate on the back of a boom in its chipmaking business.

"There are some signs of waning risk-on sentiment given a set of major developments around the globe," said Kim Sung-hwan, an analyst at Bookook Securities.

Top cap Samsung Electronics declined 0.57 percent to end at 2,080,000 won. The world's largest manufacturer of smartphones said its first-quarter operating profit is estimated to have advanced 48.2 percent on-year to 9.9 trillion won, apparently helped by the robust performance of its chip business.

It marks the second-highest quarterly operating profit ever posted by Samsung Electronics. The current record was set in the third quarter of 2013, when Samsung's operating profit hit 10.1 trillion won.

SK hynix, a major chipmaker, rose 0.81 percent to finish at 49,800 won.

LG Electronics, the No. 2 home appliance maker, advanced 0.42 percent to end at 70,900 won after it estimated its first-quarter operating income at 922 billion won, turning around from a loss a year earlier.

Hyundai Motor, the country's top automaker, fell 2.36 percent to end at 144,500 won as it, along with its smaller affiliate Kia Motors, plans to recall over 1 million cars in South Korea and the U.S. for faulty engines.

Kia Motors shed 0.84 percent to 35,550 won.

Naver, the operator of the country's top Internet portal, went down 1.43 percent to end at 828,000 won, and AmorePacific, the No. 1 cosmetics maker here, slipped 0.72 percent to end at 274,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,134.50 won against the U.S. dollar, down 1.3 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 0.2 basis point to 1.681 percent, while the return on the benchmark five-year government bond gained 1.1 basis points to 1.871 percent.

sam@yna.co.kr
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