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Seoul shares close nearly flat ahead of U.S. inflation data

South Korean shares closed a tad lower Thursday, extending their losing streak to a seventh consecutive session as investors awaited important U.S. inflation data. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock …

South Korean shares closed a tad lower Thursday, extending their losing streak to a seventh consecutive session as investors awaited important U.S. inflation data. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 1.71 points, or 0.07 percent, to close at 2,540.27. Trade volume was moderate at 740 million shares worth 10.7 trillion won (US$8.15 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 439 to 438. The KOSPI had opened in positive terrain, slightly extending its gains after the Bank of Korea kept its policy rate frozen at 3.5 percent for the eighth consecutive time. After choppy trading, the index ended in negative terrain as investors sat on the sidelines, waiting for the release of the U.S. consumer price index this week, which will provide a clue to the Federal Reserve's rate policy. Institutions net sold 343.7 billion won worth of local shares, extending their selling spree to a seventh consecutive session, while foreigners unloaded 375.6 b illion won. Retail investors scooped up a net 705.9 billion won worth of shares. Large caps closed mixed. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 0.54 percent to 73,200 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix soared 1.87 percent to 136,000 won. Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution gained 1.22 percent to 415,500 won, with its smaller local rival Samsung SDI staying flat at 416,500 won. Top automaker Hyundai Motor added 0.16 percent to 187,000 won, but its smaller affiliate Kia Motors slipped 0.88 percent to 89,700 won. The local currency closed at 1,312.90 won against the greenback, up 7.20 won from the previous session's close. Source: Yonhap News Agency