(LEAD) Seoul shares close lower on profit taking

SEOUL, South Korean stocks closed lower Monday on profit taking after recent gains. The local currency fell against the U.S. dollar. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 24 points, or 0.92 percent, to 2,591.31, ending a two-day winning streak. KOSPI soared nearly 5 percent over the bullish period. Trade volume was heavy at 500.2 million shares worth 12.1 trillion won (US$9.09 billion), with losers closely outnumbering winners 459 to 434. Institutions sold a net 724.2 billion won worth of local shares to lead the decline, while foreigners scooped up a net 178.7 billion won and individuals bought 512.1 billion won. "Foreigners have led the recent upside trend in the local financial market," Roh Dong-gil, an analyst from Shinhan Securities Co., said. "The recent surge made investors seek for profit," In the previous session, the main index surged 2.87 percent on tech and auto gains. Market heavyweights finished in negative territory, with tech giant Samsung Electronics, the largest share in terms of market cap, declining 1.2 percent to 74,300 won and its chipmaking rival SK hynix dropping 1.93 percent to 132,300 won. Top online portal operator Naver sank 6.9 percent to 208,000 won, and Kakao dipped 2.31 percent to 55,000 won. Bio shares also went south as leading pharmaceutical firm SK biopharm decreased 2.38 percent to 90,200 won and Celltrion skidded 1.68 percent to 180,900 won. But top carmaker Hyundai Motor jumped 4.85 percent to 238,000 won, and leading battery manufacturer LG Energy Solution gained 0.39 percent to 389,000 won. The local currency closed at 1,330.8 won against the greenback, down 8.2 won from the previous session's close. Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 6.4 basis points to 3.312 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds gained 7.9 basis points to 3.339 percent. Source: Yonhap News Agency

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