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(LEAD) Seoul stocks snap 3-day winning streak on valuation pressure

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom, photo)

SEOUL, Jan. 22 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s stock exchange ended its three-day winning streak Friday on valuation pressure after hitting another new high the previous session. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) retreated 20.21 points, or 0.64 percent, to close at 3,140.63 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 1.1 billion shares worth some 24 trillion won (US$21.7 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 476 to 384.

Foreigners sold a net 270 billion won, while retail investors purchased a net 1.6 trillion won. Institutions dumped a net 1.4 trillion won.

Trading was choppy on the key index, following the previous session’s record finish.

Local stocks rebounded late morning on hopes of a global economic rebound, backed by developments related to the $1.9 trillion U.S. economic aid package.

But increasing sell-offs of local stocks by institutions and foreigners eventually took the KOSPI into negative terrain.

“Investors still seem to have been testing the water over the past two weeks, snapping up gains after stocks breach the 3,150-point threshold,” Shinhan Financial Investment analyst Choi Yoo-joon said.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 1.48 percent to 86,800 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix shed 2.28 percent to 128,500 won.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics moved down 0.25 percent to 794,000 won, and Celltrion retreated 0.64 percent to 310,000 won.

Internet portal giant Naver surged 6.51 percent to 343,500 won, with its rival Kakao advancing 1.98 percent to 463,000 won.

Leading chemical maker LG Chem fell 1.32 percent to 975,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI spiked 6.31 percent to 792,000 won.

Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest automaker, declined 2.84 percent to 257,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,103.2 won per dollar, down 5 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 2.2 basis points to 0.993 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 4.3 basis points to 1.326 percent.

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