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(LEAD) Seoul stocks down for 3rd day on tech slump

All Headlines 16:35 May 27, 2019

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, May 27 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed lower Monday, extending their losing streak to third day, as big-cap tech stocks such as Samsung Electronics came under heavy selling pressure amid the trade war between the United States and China. The Korean won sharply rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 1.10 points, or 0.05 percent, to close at 2,044.21. Trade volume was low at 342 million shares worth 3.3 trillion won (US$2.7 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 491 to 342.

The local stock market opened higher in the morning, apparently tracking gains on Wall Street last week, but finished lower after swerving in and out of positive terrain.

The U.S. stocks advanced on improved market sentiment on Friday (local time) after U.S. President Donald Trump hinted at a positive turnaround in a trade row with Beijing. Trump added that the ban on Chinese tech giant Huawei could be solved if China agrees to a trade agreement.

Foreigners offloaded 194 billion won, while institutional and retail investors scooped up a net 170 billion won and 24 billion won, respectively.

"With the U.S.-China trade dispute continuing, political uncertainties caused by British Prime Minister Theresa May's resignation also soured investor sentiment," Gwak Hyun-su, an analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp., said.

Large-cap shares traded mixed across the board.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics was down 0.12 percent, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix dipped 1.04 percent. Naver, the operator of the country's top internet portal, shed 2.64 percent to 110,500 won.

In contrast, top carmaker Hyundai Motor rose 3.45 percent to 135,000 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors added 1.34 percent to 41,650 won.

Shares of major online gaming companies were also mixed after the World Health Organization (WHO) classified excessive gaming as an illness. Netmarble lost 1.32 percent, but NCSoft inched up 1.05 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,184.50 won against the U.S. dollar, sharply up 3.9 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 0.9 basis point to 1.652 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond advanced 0.8 basis point to 1.687 percent.


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