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(LEAD) Seoul stocks end almost flat amid profit-taking

All News 16:14 June 16, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at the bottom)

SEOUL, June 16 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks finished almost flat Friday as foreign investors dumped local shares to lock in recent gains, offsetting a buying spree by institutions and individuals, analysts said. The Korean won sharply lost ground against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) inched up 0.18 point, or 0.01 percent, to close at 2,361.38. Trade volume was slim at 323.92 million shares worth 5.7 trillion won (US$5.1 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 439 to 365.

Foreigners offloaded a net 150 billion won worth of local stocks, targeting some major steel stocks, a move seen as basking in recent gains, the analysts said. Meanwhile, institutions and individuals were net buyers by snatching up a net 48.7 billion won and 51.2 billion won, respectively.

The local stock market had opened a tad higher despite overnight losses on Wall Street. On Thursday (local time), major U.S. benchmark stock indexes ended lower, with the Standard & Poor's 500 index losing 0.22 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite dropping 0.47 percent.

"The local market is facing downward momentum affected by the slump in the U.S. market. However, the effect was limited as there was an inflow due to a buying spree," said Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities Co.

Most large caps closed mixed.

Steel and chemical shares closed higher, with leading steelmaker POSCO closing at 274,500 won, up 0.92 percent. LG Chem, the country's top chemical firm, added 0.54 percent to 278,000 won, and No. 2 player Lotte Chemical gained 0.3 percent to 333,500 won.

Tech shares ended bearish, with top cap Samsung Electronics ending at 2,279,000 won, down 0.22 percent. Its smaller rival LG Electronics lost 1.37 percent to 86,100 won, and LG Display, a major flat panel maker, shed 1.97 percent to 37,400 won. SK hynix, a major chipmaker, also inched down 0.17 percent to 60,500 won to end a third-day winning streak.

Cosmetic and medical shares also finished lower after China has blacklisted 24 South Korean manufacturers and exporters, and restricted the sale of their cosmetics and other related products.

AmorePacific, the country's top cosmetics maker, was unchanged at 319,000 won. Hanmi Science, holding firm of No. 1 drug company Hanmi Pharmaceutical, tumbled 9.26 percent to 90,200 won. Hanmi Pharmaceutical also lost 5.6 percent to 400,500 won.

Auto shares were mixed, with leading automaker Hyundai Motor adding 1.23 percent to 164,000 won. Its sister company, Kia Motors, was up 1.15 percent to end at 39,750 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis, meanwhile, was down 0.57 percent to 263,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,134.1 won against the greenback, down 10 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 1.3 basis points to 1.695 percent and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds gained 1.5 basis points to 1.867 percent.


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