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(LEAD) Seoul stocks close tad higher ahead of earnings season

All Headlines 16:36 April 22, 2019

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, April 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed slightly higher on Monday as investors took a wait-and-see stance ahead of the upcoming earnings reports from major companies such as Hyundai Motor, analysts said. The South Korean won sharply fell against the U.S. dollar.

After a choppy session, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) inched up 0.5 point, or 0.02 percent, to close at 2,216.65. Trade volume was moderate at 487 million shares worth 4.57 trillion won (US$4 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 414 to 394.

Retail investors scooped up a net 70.6 billion won while foreigners and institutional investors offloaded 18.6 billion won and 50.2 billion won, respectively.

"Investors sat on the sidelines due to a lack of growth momentum and the closure of U.S. stocks for the holiday, and they remain cautious ahead of earnings announcement by major firms," Lee Jae-sung, an analyst at Samsung Securities Co., said.

Most large-cap shares were mixed across the board.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics moved up 0.11 percent to 45,350 won to snap a three-day losing streak. No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix, meanwhile, lost 1.59 percent to 80,500 won.

Bio stocks closed in positive terrain, with Samsung BioLogics, a biopharmaceutical affiliate of Samsung Group, gaining 1.48 percent to end at 376,000 won. Celltrion was up 1.15 percent to 220,500 won.

Auto stocks ended mixed, with leading automaker Hyundai Motor unchanged at 134,000 won and auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis also unchanged at 229,000 won. Hyundai Motor's sister company, Kia Motors, added 0.71 percent to 42,800 won.

The local currency closed at 1,141.5 won against the U.S. dollar, down 4.6 won from the previous session.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended lower. The yield on three-year debts added 1.3 basis points to 1.769 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds rose 2.7 basis points to 1.815 percent.


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