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Seoul stocks edge up amid series of events

South Korean stocks closed slightly higher Thursday after trading nearly flat throughout the session as investors took to the sidelines amid a series of global events, analysts said. The Korean won rose against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index inched up 3.43 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,363.57. Trade volume was moderate at 402 million shares worth 8.1 trillion won ($7.21 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 441 to 366.

Analysts said Seoul shares traded nearly flat as investors took a wait-and-see stance on major events that could have a significant impact on the global market, including the hearing of former US FBI director James Comey and the policy meeting of the European Central Bank.

"Testimonies of James Comey, Britain's election, the ECB meeting, and the profit-taking sentiment induced investors to take a wait-and-see stance," said Kim Byung-yeon, a researcher at NH Investment & Securities Co.

Foreigners bought a net 280 billion won, while institutions sold a net 434 billion won. Retail investors bought a net 80.9 billion won.

Construction shares closed lower, with industry leader Hyundai Engineering & Construction falling 0.43 percent to 46,250 won and Daewoo Engineering & Construction moving down 0.94 percent to 7,360 won. Daelim Industrial shed 1.65 percent to 89,400 won.

Logistics shares also closed mixed, with Hyundai Glovis remaining unchanged at 156,000 won and CJ Korea Express losing 1.01 percent to 195,500 won. Top air carrier Korean Air edged up 0.27 percent.

Mobile carriers were also mixed, with No. 1 SK Telecom falling 1.02 percent to 243,000 won while LG Uplus advanced 3.38 percent to 16,800 won. KT decreased 1.09 percent at 31,650 won.

LG Display advanced 3.11 percent to 36,500 won, and No. 2 home appliance maker LG Electronics increased 1.76 percent to 86,800 won. Market behemoth Samsung Electronics moved down 0.31 percent.

The local currency closed at 1,122.10 won against the greenback, up 1.90 won from the previous session.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 1.6 basis points to 1.637 percent and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds added 2.0 basis points to 1.849 percent. (Yonhap)