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Seoul stocks slightly up on bargain-hunting

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)
South Korean shares snapped a two-day losing streak to inch higher Wednesday on the back of retail investors' massive bargain-hunting. The Korean won rose against the US dollar.

After choppy trading, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 0.65 point, or 0.03 percent, to close at 2,333.24. In the previous session, the index fell 2.38 percent.

Trading volume was moderate at about 725 million shares worth some 13.4 trillion won ($11.5 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 439 to 388.

Retail investors purchased a net 328 billion won, while foreigners sold a net 58 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 281 billion won.

Major tech stocks remained in positive terrain, but battery makers suffered a drop.

Leading chemical maker LG Chem fell 1.41 percent to 630,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI dropped 2.24 percent to 436,500 won.

Local analysts said investors were disappointed with Tesla's Battery Day, a big event for global stock markets. Investors had anticipated a new battery technology, whereas the US electric vehicle maker just introduced a productivity enhancement strategy.

"The KOSPI had started bullish on Wall Street gains, but disappointed with Tesla's announcement, investors dumped related stocks," Kiwoom Securities analyst Seo Sang-young said.

Most large caps closed lower.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics added 0.69 percent to 58,600 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix jumped 2.83 percent to 83,600 won.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics dipped 3.56 percent to 705,000 won, and Celltrion shed 0.75 percent to 266,000 won.

Internet portal giant Naver jumped 4.22 percent to 296,500 won, with its rival Kakao up 3.54 percent to 365,500 won.

Hyundai Motor, the country's largest automaker, closed flat at 179,500 won, while top steelmaker Posco edged up 0.26 percent to 195,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,164.4 won per dollar, up 0.6 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 1.4 basis points to 0.883 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 2.8 basis points to 1.149 percent. (Yonhap)
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