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(LEAD) Seoul shares inch down on foreign selling

All News 16:35 December 11, 2018

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom; CHANGES photo)

SEOUL, Dec. 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks finished slightly lower Tuesday on a heavy sell-off by foreign investors amid persistent concerns over global trade frictions and an economic slowdown, experts said. The South Korean won declined against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 0.82 points, or 0.04 percent, to 2.052.97. Trading volume was light at 267.01 million shares worth 4.91 trillion won (US$4.35 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 587 to 254.

After opening a tad higher, the index wobbled between positive and negative territory throughout the session.

Foreigner investors dumped a net 190.9 billion won worth of local shares, outweighing buying by retailers and institutions worth a net 61.5 billion won and 121.1 billion won, respectively.

"A range of data has pointed to a global economic slowdown," said Seo Sang-young, an expert at Kiwoom Securities, citing the latest composite leading indicator data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development as an example.

"The unresolved case of the detention of Huawei Technologies' chief financial officer in Canada still serves as a source of concern," he added.

Bit-cap shares traded mixed.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics inched up 0.12 percent to 40,250 won, while major chipmaker SK hynix retreated 0.92 percent to 64,900 won.

LG Chem rose 1.3 percent to 349,500 won on bargain hunting, but top steelmaker POSCO fell 0.6 percent to 246,500 won.

Major bio shares also had mixed results on regulatory decisions.

Pharmaceutical giant Celltrion dived 10.02 percent to 220,000 won on news that the financial watchdog, the Financial Supervisory Service, launched a probe into its affiliate, Celltrion Healthcare, on suspicions that it breached accounting rules by re-selling its domestic sales rights to its parent firm to avoid losses in the second quarter.

On the contrary, Samsung BioLogics spiked 17.79 percent to 394,500 won as it avoided being delisted from the stock market and resumed trading.

The local currency closed at 1,131.1 won against the U.S. dollar, down 3.6 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, were mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 1.1 basis points to 1.792 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds added 0.4 basis point to 1.877 percent.

(LEAD) Seoul shares inch down on foreign selling - 1

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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