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(LEAD) Seoul shares down 0.16 pct on U.S. policy woes
SEOUL, July 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed 0.16 percent lower Wednesday as market uncertainties grew before the release of minutes from this week's Federal Reserve policy meeting, analysts said.

   The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 3.02 points to close at 1,914.03. Trading volume was moderate at 379.3 million shares worth 4.02 trillion won (US$3.58 billion), with gainers outpacing losers 468 to 343.

   Analysts said Seoul shares traded lower as investors continued to take a wait-and-see approach on the future U.S. policy moves amid the rising woes over when the country will reduce its quantitative easing.

   The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) plans to release the minutes of its July meeting Thursday, which is anticipated to imply the U.S. central bank's policy move. The FOMC is holding its two-day regular monetary meeting, that started Tuesday, local time.

   "Investors are also being cautious as the United States and China will announce their economic data this week," said Lee Jae-man, a researcher at Tongyang Securities Co.

   Foreigners scooped up more shares than they sold at a net 4 billion won, and institutions also bought a net 111.9 billion won. In contrast, individuals offloaded a net 112.4 billion won.

   Tech shares closed lower, with market behemoth Samsung Electronics falling 0.78 percent to 1,280,000 won and its rival LG Electronics losing 0.41 percent to 72,900 won. Flat panel maker LG Display shed 0.71 percent to 27,850 won.

   Builders also closed flat, with Hyundai Engineering & Construction and Daewoo Engineering & Construction closing unchanged at 59,200 won and 7,720 won, respectively. Daelim Industrial moved down 2.09 percent to 89,000 won.

   Carmakers traded mixed, with No. 1 Hyundai Motor falling 2.11 percent to 232,500 won and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors edging up 0.79 percent to 63,700 won. Hyundai's auto parts affiliate Hyundai Mobis moved down 1.26 percent to 274,000 won.

   The local currency ended at 1,123.50 won against the greenback, down 9.70 won from Tuesday's close amid the uncertainty over when the U.S. will cut its economic stimulus moves, dealers said.

   Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasuries gained 0.01 percentage point to 2.92 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds also added 0.02 percentage point to 3.20 percent.

   colin@yna.co.kr
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