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(LEAD) Seoul stocks dip on profit-taking

All News 16:23 January 04, 2018

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, Jan. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks finished lower Thursday, as investors opted to cash in recent gains, market analysts said. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 19.89 points, or 0.8 percent, to close at 2,466.46. Trade volume was moderate at 330 million shares worth 6.8 trillion won (US$6.4 billion), with losers overwhelming gainers 547 to 271.

The local stock market opened higher, taking a cue from overnight gains in Wall Street, but went south on profit-taking.

"The bourse went as high as above the 2,500 mark following overnight U.S. gains, but fell as investors opted to lock in recent profits," said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities.

Institutional investors offloaded a net 393 billion won worth of shares, while foreigners and individuals scooped up a net 327 billion won and 43 billion won, respectively, keeping the index from falling further.

Tech stocks suffered a slump with Samsung Electronics, the top market cap here, declining 1.05 percent to end at 2,554,000 won.

SK hynix, a global chipmaker, edged down 0.77 percent to finish at 77,100 won, and LG Electronics was down 3.2 percent to 106,000 won.

Chemical and auto shares were also among the losers.

LG Chem, the country's No. 1 chemical company, surrendered 3.42 percent to end at 395,500 won, and AmorePacific, the top cosmetics maker, fell 4.01 percent to 299,000 won.

Hyundai Motor, the leading automaker, dropped 2.66 percent to finish at 146,500 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors fell 3.22 percent to 31,550 won. Hyundai Mobis, the largest auto-parts maker here, also lost 3.9 percent to end at 246,500 won.

No. 1 steelmaker POSCO, meanwhile, jumped 2.8 percent to 367,500 won, and Naver, the country's largest Internet portal operator, also gained 2.53 percent to 893,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,062.20 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2.3 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended lower. The yield on three-year Treasury bonds gained 1.5 basis points to 2.142 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds rose 1.5 basis points to 2.359 percent.


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