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(LEAD) Seoul stocks fall on foreign sell-offs

2017/03/20 15:58

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, March 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks fell Monday as foreign investors remained net sellers for the first time in 11 trading days, with investors opting to cash in part of their recent gains. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 7.57 points, or 0.35 percent, to close at 2,157.01. Trade volume was moderate at 261 million shares worth 4.01 trillion won (US$3.57 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 551 to 263.

The local stock market opened lower on profit-taking, tracking losses on Wall Street last Friday.

Also, investors took to the sidelines over the news that Group of 20 nations stopped short of making a pledge to avoid trade protectionism at a meeting over the weekend.

Kwak Hyun-soo, an analyst at Shinhan Investment, said foreign investors are likely to continue to sell local stocks for the time being, citing their pattern of trading since the 2008-09 global financial crisis.

Samsung Electronics fell 1.18 percent to end at 2,095,000 won, while SK hynix, a global chipmaker, rose 1.82 percent to 47,600 won.

Naver, the operator of the country's top Internet portal, shed 1.09 percent to 818,000 won.

Automakers traded in positive terrain, with industry leader Hyundai Motor up 3.3 percent to 156,500 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors edging up 0.41 percent to 37,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,120.10 won against the U.S. dollar, up 10.8 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 0.7 basis point to 1.668 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond declined 0.8 basis point to 1.860 percent.

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angloinfo.com