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(LEAD) Seoul stocks close nearly flat on mixed economic data

All News 16:33 May 07, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom, photo)

SEOUL, May 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed nearly flat Thursday as investors lost direction on mixed global economic data. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 0.15 point, or 0.01 percent, to finish at 1,928.61.

Trading volume was moderate at 762 million shares worth 7.2 trillion won (US$5.8 billion), with gainers outpacing losers 527 to 297.

The index opened lower following dismal economic data from the United States and Europe.

The U.S. employment data showed that U.S. private sector companies cut a record 20.2 million jobs last month, while the Europe Commission announced that the region's economy is expected to contract by 7.4 percent this year, its worst fall since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

The index turned higher, advancing as much as 0.5 percent, after China reported that its exports in U.S. dollar terms rose 3.5 percent in April, bucking market expectations for a drop.

However, it lost steam later to settle just below the flat line.

This photo shows a screen showing the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) at a dealing room at Hana Bank in Seoul on May 7, 2020. (Yonhap)

"With foreigners continue to sell-off local shares, there was no momentum to further push up the index," said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities.

Individual investors bought a net 253 billion won worth of stocks, while institutions scooped up a net 58 billion won. Foreigners offloaded a net 321 billion won on the Seoul bourse.

Large-cap stocks closed mixed.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics lost 0.81 percent to 48,800 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix stayed unchanged at 82,400 won.

South Korea's largest automaker, Hyundai Motor, slid 0.64 percent to 92,600 won, and auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis plunged 1.73 percent to 170,000 won.

Major chemical firm LG Chem dipped 1.94 percent to 354,000 won, and top steelmaker POSCO declined 0.28 percent to 179,500 won.

However, the country's top web portal operator Naver advanced 1.65 percent to 215,500 won, while Kakao, which runs the nation's leading mobile messenger app, KakaoTalk, jumped 3.26 percent to 206,000 won.

The South Korean won closed at 1,225.00 won against the U.S. dollar, down 2.9 won from the previous session.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 1.4 basis points to 0.946 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond slid 1.5 basis points to 1.209 percent.

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