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Seoul shares fall on China woes

South Korean shares dropped 1.1 percent to hit a five-month low on Friday as investor sentiment was again spooked by losses in the Chinese stock market. The local currency remained flat against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index lost 21.14 points to close at 1,878.87, the lowest since Sept. 8, 2015. Trade volume was thin at 303.9 million shares worth 4.39 trillion won ($3.62 billion), with losers outnumbering winners 584 to 274.
Foreigners remained net sellers for 10 consecutive sessions since the start of the year, offloading 272.8 billion won worth of local shares. Retail investors purchased a net 247.5 billion won while institutions sold a net 5.4 billion won.
The index opened higher on overnight gains on Wall Street, but pared gains on a further slide in the Chinese stock market.
On Wednesday, the Shanghai Composite Index plunged 2.5 percent to a five-year low. The index again plunged 2.18 percent to 2942.15 as of 3:15 p.m. Friday following a slight recovery of 1.9 percent in the previous session.
“It appears to be an all-around crisis. The Chinese yuan’s devaluation and slowing recovery momentum in the U.S. are adding to already poor conditions. Foreigners are exiting emerging markets and along with the movement, they will likely continue selling local shares for some time,” Hyundai Securities analyst Bae Sung-young said.
Most market heavyweights ended in negative terrain. Tech giant Samsung Electronics shed 0.53 percent to finish at 1,132,000 won with state-run utility firm Korea Electric Power Corp. plunging 1.92 percent to 51,000 won. (Yonhap)