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Seoul shares fall 0.34 pct on weak U.S., China data

South Korean stocks closed 0.34 percent lower Thursday, tracking its U.S. peers overnight as disappointing economic data in major countries dampened investor appetite, analysts said. The local currency edged down against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) retreated 6.74 points to finish at 1,957.21. Trading volume was moderate at 342.2 million shares worth 4.05 trillion won (US$3.67 billion) with decliners outpacing gainers 485 to 315.
"U.S. markets saw quite a fall overnight and the KOSPI followed suit as economic indexes in the U.S. and China came below the consensus. We won't likely see foreigners come back for some time," said Bae Sung-young, an analyst at Hyundai Securities Co.
Overseas investors sold off a net 88.9 billion won, with institutions also opting to unload a net 32.3 billion won. Retail investors instead scooped up a net 137.1 billion on bargain hunting.
Weak data from the world's two major powers renewed concerns over a global economic recovery, sending large-cap exporters to fall on the main bourse.   

LG Electronics, a blue-chip home appliance maker, slumped 3.41 percent to 85,100 won, with No. 1 shipyard Hyundai Heavy Industries shedding 1.49 percent to 198,000 won.
Big banking groups finished bearish on the protracted downturn, with Woori Finance Holdings, the largest player by asset, tumbling 5.04 percent to 11,300 won.
Local shipping line Hyundai Merchant Marine sank 9.85 percent to 9,240 won following media reports it may need to issue new shares to raise money and secure liquidity against low cash flow.
Cash-strapped shipbuilder STX Offshore & Shipbuilding extended its losing streak to tumble 5.64 percent to 4,015 won, with its holding company STX Group, the shipbuilding and shipping conglomerate, also plunging 4.75 percent to 3,110 won.
The local currency ended the session at 1,101.60 won against the greenback, down 0.4 won from Tuesday's close, as foreigners reduced their holdings of local equities, dealers said.
The Seoul bourse was closed on Wednesday for International Workers' Day. (Yonhap News)

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