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Seoul stocks retreat on profit-taking

South Korean stocks finished lower Tuesday on profit-taking, after the key index hit a record high in the previous session, analysts said. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index shed 11.63 points, or 0.47 percent, to close at 2,439.90. Trade volume was moderate at 270 million shares worth 5.3 trillion won ($4.7 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 499 to 300.

The local stock market opened nearly flat as investors sought profit-taking after the market closed at a record-high level at 2,451.53 points in the previous session, marking the eighth consecutive session for the benchmark index to renew its fresh high.


"The growth potential of the KOSPI is limited despite favorable earnings reports from local companies, including SK hynix, unless they come up with other content that can boost the shareholder value," said Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities.

Foreigners offloaded a net 342 billion won worth of local stocks, while institutional investors and individuals were net buyers by snatching up 265 billion won and 64 billion won, respectively.

Samsung Electronics, the top market cap here, fell 1.69 percent to end at 2.5 million won, and SK hynix, a major chipmaker, dropped 3.56 percent to 70,400 won after its announcement on record-breaking net profit in the second quarter of this year.

No. 1 life insurer Samsung Life Insurance fell 0.78 percent to 127,000 won, and leading retail bank KB Financial shed 1 percent to 59,600 won.

In contrast, Hyundai Motor, the No. 1 automaker, climbed 0.69 percent to end at 146,000 won. Its smaller affiliate Kia Motors also rose 0.82 percent to 36,800 won.

POSCO, the top steelmaker, went up 0.31 percent to end at 323,000 won, and Samsung BioLogics, a biopharmaceutical affiliate of Samsung Group, jumped 5.13 percent to end at 287,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,115.30 won against the US dollar, down 1.30 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 1.1 basis points at 1.709 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond shed 1.1 basis points to 1.903 percent. (Yonhap)
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