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Seoul shares down 0.5 pct late Monday morning

11:37 January 14, 2019

SEOUL, Jan. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks traded lower late Monday morning as investor sentiment was hurt by concerns over the ongoing shutdown of the U.S. government, analysts said.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index lost 10.29 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,065.28 as of 11:20 a.m.

After opening lower, the index skidded further to dip below the 2,070-point mark on heavy institutional selling.

The U.S. has closed part of its federal agencies since Dec. 21 (Washington time), marking the longest-ever shutdown in its history. According to an estimate by S&P Global Ratings, the U.S. economy had lost US$3.6 billion by last Friday due to the temporary halt.

Investors are also cautiously awaiting China's data on exports amid concerns over signs of a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.

Most big-cap shares in Seoul lost ground, with tech shares under heavy selling pressure.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 0.37 percent, and major chipmaker SK hynix sank 3.69 percent.

No. 1 carmaker Hyundai Motor decreased 1.22 percent, and top steelmaker POSCO shed 1.57 percent.

Major bio shares traded mixed, with pharmaceutical giant Celltrion retreating 2.54 percent, while Samsung BioLogics advanced 2.15 percent.

The South Korean currency was trading at 1,120.40 won against the U.S. dollar, down 4 won from the previous session's close.

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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