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(LEAD) Seoul shares fall 0.37 pct on profit-taking
SEOUL, Aug. 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed 0.37 percent lower Monday, largely due to a selling binge by institutional investors to take profits, analysts said. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar.

   The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) slipped 7.16 points to finish at 1,916.22. Trading volume was light at 230.4 million shares worth 2.71 trillion won (US$2.42 billion), but gainers outnumbered decliners 417 to 360.

   "There was institutional demand for profit-taking after the KOSPI rallied over a few sessions in the past couple of weeks," said Choi Seung-yong, an analyst at Taurus Investment & Securities Co.

   Institutions sold off a net 85.4 billion won. But foreigners and retail investors opted for risky bets, scooping up a net 80.3 billion won and 3.2 billion won, respectively.

   Some analysts had predicted earlier that the KOSPI may be weighed down by the Obama administration's veto on a sales ban ruling by a U.S. trade panel that favored Samsung Electronics over Apple Inc.

   But the impact of the overturned ruling on the South Korean tech giant was tepid since the decision targeted Apple's older version of iPhones and iPads.

   The South Korean tech giant ended the session down 0.93 percent to 1,274,000 won.

   Logistics companies and steelmakers drove down the main bourse. Hyundai Merchant Marine, a local logistic firm, slumped 3.6 percent to 16,050 won. Leading steelmaker POSCO sank 1.79 percent to 329,000 won.

   The local currency ended at 1,113.80 won against the greenback, up 9.8 won from Friday's close, mainly due to the dollar's weakness, dealers said.

   The greenback sharply lost ground against major currencies after the U.S. nonfarm payroll data fell short of market forecast in July, raising the specter that will likely delay the Federal Reserve's tapering of its stimulus.

   Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasuries slipped 0.04 percentage point to 2.92 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds fell 0.06 percentage point to 3.20 percent.