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Seoul stocks rebound on hopes of economic recovery

South Korean stocks rebounded Friday as hopes for an economic recovery offset concerns over an earlier-than-expected tapering move by the US Federal Reserve. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) rose 2.97 points, or 0.09 percent, to close at 3,267.93 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 1.6 billion shares worth some 17.1 trillion won ($15.1 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 464 to 382.

Foreigners sold a net 823 billion won, while retail investors bought 884 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 61 billion won.

The Kospi snapped its five-session winning streak the previous day.

Stocks traded choppy in course toward the session's close but managed to finish higher.

On Wednesday (US time), the US Federal Reserve said its officials are already discussing policy rate hikes, adding to market concerns of early rate hikes.

"Expectations of economic normalization helped the Kospi's gain," HI Investment & Securities analyst Park Sang-hyun said. "Individuals have been net buying local stocks on expectations of a corporate earnings hike in the second quarter."

In Seoul, market kingpin Samsung Electronics lost 0.49 percent to 80,500 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix retreated 1.58 percent to 124,500 won. Battery maker Samsung SDI jumped 3.69 percent to 674,000 won.

Internet portal operator Naver moved up 2.18 percent to 398,000 won, and its rival Kakao surged 4.73 percent to 155,000 won. Giant pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics increased 0.36 percent to 836,000 won.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor shed 0.63 percent to 235,000 won, and leading chemical firm LG Chem declined 1.56 percent to 822,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,132.3 won against the US dollar, down 1.9 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)