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(LEAD) Seoul shares gain 0.9 pct ahead of FOMC meeting
SEOUL, July 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed 0.9 percent higher Tuesday, as investors kept a wary eye on the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary meeting in regards to the tapering of its stimulus, analysts said. The local currency fell against the U.S. dollar.

   The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 17.16 points to finish at 1,917.05. Trading volume was moderate at 362.4 million shares worth 3.54 trillion won (US$3.17 billion) with gainers outstripping decliners 483 to 305.

   "We know that the Fed won't change its mind about unwinding the easy-money policy from later this year," said Kim Soon-young, an analyst at IBK Investment & Securities Co. "Having said that, investors are all eyes and ears about whether it will mention any adjustments in the stimulus plan after the meeting."

   The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is set to hold its two-day regular monetary meeting from Tuesday, local time.

   Institutions and foreigners led the KOSPI's climb, snapping up a net 240.5 billion won and 90.7 billion won, respectively. Retail investors sold off a net 312.6 billion won.

   Auto and tech blue-chips drove up the main index. Top-cap Samsung Electronics gained 0.55 percent to 1,290,000 won, with leading automaker Hyundai Motor jumping 3.26 percent to 237,500 won.

   Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis surged 4.52 percent to 277,500 won and smaller player Kia Motors shooting up 3.1 percent to 63,200 won.

   But shares of Samsung Life Insurance, South Korea's No. 1 insurer, dropped 0.47 percent to 106,500 won. Top mobile carrier SK Telecom shed 2.22 percent to 220,000 won despite its upbeat second-quarter earnings.

   The local currency ended at 1,113.80 won against the greenback, down 3.3 won from Monday's close, largely due to the dollar's gain, dealers said.

   Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed marginally lower. The yield on three-year Treasuries inched up 0.01 percentage point to 2.91 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds also rose 0.01 percentage point to 3.18 percent.