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Seoul shares close lower on weak Black Friday sales in U.S.

South Korean stocks closed lower Monday as investors sat on the sidelines on weaker-than-expected Black Friday sales in the United States, analysts said. The local currency gained against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 14.09 points, or 0.69 percent, to 2,030.78. Trading volume was low at 224.3 million shares worth 3.2 trillion won ($3.02 billion) with losers outpacing gainers 525 to 299.

Analysts said the local stock market lost ground as the weaker-than-expected U.S. consumer sentiment despite Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales cast cloud over the recovery in the world's largest economy.

"Seoul shares, however, are expected to trade higher through December, as previous records show the South Korean stock market mostly gathered ground in last months of every year since 2001," said Lim Dong-rak, a researcher at Hanyang Securities Co.

Foreigners bought a net 54.6 billion won worth of Seoul shares on the main bourse, and individuals purchased a net 177.7 billion won. Institutional investors, in contrast, offloaded a net 222.3 billion won.

Shares of affiliates under Samsung Group traded lower despite the group's management reshuffle plan announced earlier Monday, with Samsung C&T, a construction arm, falling 2.37 percent to 61,700 won and Samsung Engineering losing 2.23 percent to 61,500 won.

Logistics firms also closed bearish, with Hyundai Glovis decreasing 2.33 percent to 230,500 won and CJ Korea Express losing 1.96 percent to 90,000 won. Hyundai Merchant Marine shed 4.89 percent to 10,700 won.

Carmakers closed mixed, with Hyundai Motor falling 0.99 percent to 249,500 won and top auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis gaining 1.47 percent to 311,500 won. Kia Motors moved down 1.31 percent to 59,600 won.

Financial firms closed bullish as foreigners scooped up shares, with KB Financial adding 0.76 percent to 40,000 won and Shinhan Financial climbing 1.01 percent to 44,950 won. Hana Financial gained 1.01 percent to 40,100 won.

The local currency ended at 1,058.20 won to the U.S. dollar, up 1 won from Friday's close, as exporters offloaded the greenback, dealers said. (Yonhap News)

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