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(LEAD) Seoul stocks fall on tech losses

All News 16:21 January 09, 2018

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks finished lower Tuesday on tech losses, triggered by Samsung Electronics' weaker-than-expected earnings estimates due to the strengthening local currency, analysts said. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 3.05 points, or 0.12 percent, to close at 2,510.23. Trade volume was moderate at 359.65 million shares worth 7.23 trillion won (US$6.78 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 431 to 382.

The local stock market opened higher taking a cue from overnight U.S. gains, but the index slipped in afternoon trades to close lower.

"Share prices of Samsung Electronics weighed on the market index, but the correction is expected to be short-lived, considering its operating profit guidance was affected by one-off costs," Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities, said. "Investors will wait for quarterly reports of other tech heavyweights to make changes to their portfolios."

Foreigners and institutions bought a net 19.33 billion won and 212.56 billion won worth of stocks, respectively, while retail investors dumped a net 260.58 billion won.

Tech shares had a bearish day ahead of the earnings season as analysts raised concerns over the impact of a stronger won and lower chip prices on major exporters.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics sank 3.11 percent 2,525,000 won after releasing its fourth-quarter earnings guidance at $14 billion, a record figure but below market expectation. SK hynix, a major chipmaker, backtracked 1.66 percent to 76,900 won.

Telecommunications shares were among the top performing sectors.

SK Telecom, the nation's biggest mobile carrier, increased 3.76 percent to 276,000 won, and No. 3 LG Uplus jumped 7.83 percent to 15,150 won.

The local currency finished at 1,067.1 won against the U.S. dollar, down 1.1 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended lower. The yield on three-year Treasury bonds increased 1.4 basis points to 2.149 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds rose 2.2 basis points to 2.380 percent.


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