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Seoul stocks inch up on foreign, institutional buying

South Korean stocks rose slightly Thursday on the back of net purchases by foreign and institutional investors, ahead of a US healthcare vote that will demonstrate US President Donald Trump's ability to deliver economic policies.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 4.42 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 2,172.72. Trade volume was moderate at 352 million shares worth 5.02 trillion won ($4.47 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 407 to 382.


The local stock market opened higher, tracking gains on Wall Street overnight.

Investors will pay attention to the Thursday vote in the US House of Representatives on Trump's healthcare bill, seen as a key test for Trump to push ahead with his agenda.

Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities, said foreign investors may maintain their buying mode for the time being, citing the nation's recovery in exports.

Top cap Samsung Electronics fell 1.55 percent to end at 2,090,000 won, and SK hynix, a global chipmaker, edged down 0.41 percent to 48,450 won.

Naver, the operator of the country's top Internet portal, rose 1.77 percent at 864,000 won.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor fell 2.94 percent to 165,000 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors declined 0.4 percent to 37,300 won.

The local currency closed at 1,122.40 won against the US dollar, up 0.9 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys gained 0.3 basis point to 1.666 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 0.1 basis point to 1.851 percent. (Yonhap)

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