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Seoul stocks snap winning streak on profit-taking


South Korean shares ended their nine-session winning streak Friday, as investors attempted to cash in part of recent gains. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 30.04 points, or 1.23 percent, to close at 2,407.49. Trading volume was high at about 956 million shares worth some 16.4 trillion won ($13.8 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 531 to 337.

Foreigners sold a net 462 billion won, while retail investors purchased a net 597 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 124 billion won.

Markets traded bearish the entire session. The pullback was largely attributed to foreign investors' profit-taking of market heavyweights.

"Stock markets can take a breather even when the liquidity is high," said Lee Jae-man, an analyst at Hana Financial Investment Co.

Lower-than-expected China retail sales in July also seem to have raised investor caution, according to Kiwoom Securities analyst Seo Sang-young.

The world's second-largest economy saw its retail sales grow 4.8 percent last month, underperforming market expectations of 5.2 percent. 

Most large caps traded lower in Seoul.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 1.19 percent to 58,000 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix retreated 0.62 percent to 80,200 won.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics dipped 2.44 percent to 800,000 won, and Celltrion shed 1.30 percent to 304,500 won.

Leading chemical maker LG Chem sank 5.02 percent to 700,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI plunged 5.73 percent to 444,000 won.

Hyundai Motor, the country's largest automaker, dropped 1.76 percent to 167,000 won, while top steelmaker POSCO gained 2.18 percent to 210,500 won.

Internet portal giant Naver lost 0.65 percent to 305,000 won, but its rival Kakao added 0.55 percent to 362,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,184.60 won per dollar, down 1.30 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 1.3 basis points to 0.828 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 2.1 basis points to 1.096 percent. (Yonhap)