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(LEAD) Seoul shares end nearly flat after recent rally

All Headlines 16:39 January 21, 2019

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, Jan. 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks swung between positive and negative terrain to finish a tad higher as investors awaited corporate earnings reports while keeping tabs on the trade talks between the United States and China, analysts said. The local currency lost against the greenback.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ticked up 0.33 point, or 0.02 percent, to finish at 2,124.61 Trading volume was moderate at 392.7 million shares worth 5.21 trillion won (US$4.62 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 452 to 374.

The index started on a solid note after reports indicated China had offered to buy more American goods through 2024 to eliminate its trade imbalance with the U.S., but slipped in late afternoon as retail investors tried to lock in from recent gains.

Foreigners and institutions bought a net 56.35 billion won and 63.45 billion won worth of local stocks, respectively, while retail investors dumped 138.51 billion won in shares more than they bought.

"The local market was fueled by optimism that a trade war between Washington and Beiing is end in sight on news that China offered to buy more U.S.-made goods," Yoon Jung-seon, an analyst at KB Investment & Securities, said.

Large-cap tech shares advanced to support the index.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics rose 1.06 percent to 42,750 won, and chipmaker SK hynix moved up a solid 3.72 percent to 67,000 won.

Auto shares fell following a sharp rally, with leading automaker Hyundai Motor shedding 3.05 percent to 127,000 won and its parts maker, Hyundai Mobis, shedding 2.38 percent to 205,000 won.

Telecommunications traded bearish.

No. 1 mobile carrier SK Telecom declined 2.23 percent to 263,500 won, and its smaller rival KT fell 1.02 percent to 29,000 won.

Top portal operator Naver dipped 4.73 percent to 131,000 won, and the state-run Korea Electric Power sank 3.84 percent to 32,550 won.

The local currency closed at 1,128.1 won against the U.S. dollar, down 6.2 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 0.7 basis point to 1.821 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds increased gained 0.3 basis point to 1.898 percent.

(LEAD) Seoul shares end nearly flat after recent rally - 1

ejkim@yna.co.kr
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