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(LEAD) Seoul stocks climb on eased trade woes

2018/09/13 16:30

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(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, Sept. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks advanced Thursday as investors welcomed news of a fresh round of U.S.-China trade talks, but the gains were limited by foreign selling. The Korean won rose against the greenback.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 3.31 points, or 0.14 percent, to close at 2,286.23. Trade volume was moderate at 295.21 million shares worth 6.39 trillion won (US$5.69 billion), with winners beating losers 451 to 370.

The index rebounded after a two-day losing streak on news that Washington has reached out to Beijing for a new round of trade talks as it prepares to activate punitive tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Institutions and retail investors bought a net 211.04 billion won and 30.75 billion won worth of stocks, respectively, while foreigners dumped a net 273.15 billion won as they remained concerned about lingering uncertainties surrounding trade tension.

"The recent capital outflow was caused by currency crises in Turkey and Argentina, and prolonged trade friction between the U.S. and China," said Kim Sang-ho, an analyst at Shinhan Investment & Securities. "The foreign sentiment is expected to remain subdued because these issues can't be solved in the short term and results of the U.S. mid-term elections are hard to predict at this point."

   Tech shares slumped after Goldman Sachs analysts lowered their rating on U.S chipmaker Micron Technology on downbeat fourth-quarter earnings prospect, also affecting other industry leaders.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 1.12 percent to 44,050 won, and SK hynix, a global chipmaker, decreased 0.8 percent to 293,500 won.

Pharmaceutical giant Celltrion increased 2.98 percent to 293,500 won, and LG Chem, the country's leading chemical firm, scored 1.89 percent to 350,000 won.

Auto shares were down, with top automaker Hyundai Motor declining 0.77 percent to 128,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,122.4 won against the U.S. dollar, up 6.2 won from Wednesday's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys gained 2.8 basis points to 1.921 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds increased 2.1 basis points to 2.083 percent.

ejkim@yna.co.kr

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