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Seoul shares close lower on currency woes

South Korean stocks extended their loss to the seventh consecutive day on Monday as the won’s sharp decline to the U.S. dollar stoked concerns of an outflow of foreign capital from the local stock market, analysts said. The local currency dropped against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index shed 7.86 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,968.30. Trading volume was moderate at 315 million shares worth 4.2 trillion won ($3.93 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers, 483 to 357.

The index opened higher on gains in U.S. stocks last week, but caved in to profit-taking and persistent woes over an outflow of foreign capital caused by the local currency’s weakness.

“Along with the dollar’s strength, downbeat corporate earnings outlook is taking a front seat ahead of Samsung’s third-quarter earnings guidance,” said Kim Jung-hyun, an analyst at IBK Investment & Securities.

Foreign investors offloaded a net 200 billion won worth of local stocks following some 600 billion won worth of sell-offs in the previous two sessions.

The global stock market has been roiled by a series of negative factors such as massive pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s anticipated move to raise borrowing costs.

Data released Friday show that the world’s largest economy added more jobs than forecast in September, pushing unemployment to a six-year low.

The forecast-beating data helped boost demand for the U.S. dollar, which further gained ground against its major peers.

Market heavyweights traded mixed. Top market cap Samsung Electronics added 0.88 percent to end at 1,151,000 won on news that it plans to invest some 15.6 trillion won to set up a new chipmaking facility to better meet the soaring global demand for chips.

Automakers also rose with industry leader Hyundai Motor gaining 2.5 percent to end at 184,500 won. Its smaller affiliate, Kia Motors, advanced 2.39 percent to finish at 55,600 won, and top auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis was up 1.26 percent at 241,000 won. (Yonhap)