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(LEAD) Seoul shares end near flat on growth woes

Stocks 16:39 March 11, 2019

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, March 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks edged up to snap their six-day losing streak Monday on bargain hunting, but lingering growth concerns limited the gains, analysts said. The local currency firmed against the greenback.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ticked up 0.66 point, or 0.03 percent, to close at 2,138.1. Trading volume was light at 260 million shares worth 3.86 trillion won (US$3.41 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 476 to 338.

The index swung between losses and gains as foreigners continued to remain net sellers, while retail investors went for bargain hunting following heavy losses last week.

Retail investors and institutions bought a net 96.3 billion won and 5 billion won worth of local stocks, respectively, while foreigners dumped 109.7 billion won more than they bought to offset gains.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) last week cut forecasts again for the global economy in 2019 and 2020, citing trade disputes and uncertainty over Brexit. The prolonged trade dispute between the United States and China also cooled down the market sentiment.

"The KOSPI remains subdued as investors remained worried about the global economic growth, moving without a clear direction," Kim Ye-eun, an analyst at IBK Securities, said.

Tech blue chips retreated on the tepid memory market prospects.

Top market cap Samsung Electronics decreased 0.34 percent to 43,650 won, and chip giant SK hynix inched down 0.15 percent to 66,600 won.

Auto shares bounced back following last week's slump.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor gained 0.83 percent to 121,000 won, and its parts maker Hyundai Mobis increased 0.74 percent to 205,500 won.

Top cosmetics maker AmorePacific tumbled 4.56 percent to 188,500 won, and No. 3 refiner S-Oil sank 4.05 percent to 92,400 won.

The local currency was trading at 1,133.7 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2.5 won from the previous session.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys gained 0.8 basis point to 1.810 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds added 0.5 basis point to 1.868 percent.

(LEAD) Seoul shares end near flat on growth woes - 1

ejkim@yna.co.kr
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