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(LEAD) Seoul stocks slightly up ahead of earnings reports

All Headlines 16:38 April 23, 2019

(ATTN: ADDS photo, bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, April 23 (Yonhap) -- Seoul stocks ended slightly higher Tuesday as investors took to the sidelines ahead of quarterly earnings releases, analysts said. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 3.86 points, or 0.17 percent, to close at 2,220.51. Trading volume was moderate at 471 million shares worth 4.8 trillion won (US$4.2 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 422 to 408.

"The main index moved in a tight range in today's session as investors await large-cap companies to report their first-quarter earnings results from this week. They will take a cue from the outcomes," Yoo Myoung-gan, an analyst at Mirae Asset Daewoo, said.

Airline stocks were among decliners as investors dumped the shares out of concerns over rising oil prices and the won's weakness against the greenback.

National flag carrier Korean Air Lines fell 1.4 percent to 34,650 won, and No. 2 carrier Asiana Airlines plunged 5.9 percent to 7,720 won. No. 1 low-cost carrier Jeju Air Co. declined 2 percent to 39,100 won.

On Monday (U.S. time), U.S. President Donald Trump decided not to extend sanctions waivers for Iranian oil to South Korea and other countries. South Korea, which heavily relies on Iranian condensate to produce petrochemical products, had been in talks with the United States to gain an extension to the waiver, which expires May 2.

Large-cap stocks were mixed across the board, with market bellwether Samsung Electronics falling 0.3 percent to 45,200 won and top carmaker Hyundai Motor rising 1.5 percent to 136,000 won.

Leading steelmaker POSCO shed 0.9 percent to 261,000 won, and No. 1 refiner SK Innovation gained 1.8 percent to 193,500 won.

The local currency traded at 1,141.80 won against the U.S. dollar, down 0.30 won from the previous day's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year debts fell 0.1 basis point to 1.768 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds declined 0.9 basis point to 1.806 percent.

(LEAD) Seoul stocks slightly up ahead of earnings reports - 1

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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