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Roundup: S.Korean shares fall ahead of ECB meeting


Roundup: S.Korean shares fall ahead of ECB meeting

SEOUL, June 5 (Xinhua) -- South Korean shares ended in negative territory Thursday as investors refrained from making a strong bet on the market ahead of the European Central Bank (ECB)'s regular policy meeting.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) declined 13.08 points, or 0.65 percent, to close at 1,995.48. Trading volume stood at 211.47 million shares worth 4.4 trillion won (4.3 billion U.S. dollars).

Institutional investors took a wait-and-see stance ahead of the ECB meeting, where the central bank in Europe will announce another stimulus measures. Market watchers said it needs to see how strong the ECB's new monetary stimulus will be, noting the market will be closed on Friday for the Memorial Day and the wait-and-see stance became stronger.

Local institutions sold a net 266.2 billion won worth of stocks as financial investment companies, which manage short-term funds, reduced their holdings of stocks ahead of the Memorial Day.

Retail investors bought shares worth 189.9 billion won, and foreigners kept their buying trend for 17 trading days in a row with purchases of stocks worth 66.3 billion won.

Most large-cap stocks ended lower. The nation's No.2 carmaker Kia Motors slid 1.7 percent, and the world's No.1 shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries declined 1.6 percent. Top web search engine Naver slid 1.6 percent, but SK Hynix, the world's second- biggest memory chip maker, jumped 4 percent as foreigners raised holdings of the chip company.

The South Korean currency finished at 1,020.5 won against the greenback, up 2.6 won from Tuesday's close.

Bond prices ended mixed. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes closed unchanged at 2.83 percent, but the return on the benchmark 10-year government bonds rose 0.01 percentage point to 3.38 percent.