Roundup: S. Korean shares edge up amid profit-taking

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South Korean shares rose for six straight sessions on Thursday due to continued stock purchases by foreign investors, but the gain was limited as institutional and retail investors took recent profits.

After bobbing in and out the negative territory, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) inched up 0.01 percent to close at 2,004.06. Trading volume stood at 351.6 million shares worth 5.67 trillion won (5.23 billion U.S. dollars).

Foreigners kept their buying spree for 15 straight sessions by purchasing a net 642.8 billion won worth of local stocks. Program- linked transactions posted a net buying worth more than 1 trillion won as higher market basis, or the difference between stocks and futures, caused an arbitrage net buying in the trading.

The gain, however, was limited as institutional and retail investors sold stocks worth 255 billion won and 358 billion won each in a bid to lock in recent profits.

Concerns remained over the September Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting scheduled next week. Market watchers expected the Fed to begin reducing its monthly bong purchases as early as in September.

Bank of Korea (BOK), South Korea's central bank, froze its policy rate at 2.5 percent, keeping its wait-and-see stance for four straight months, ahead of the FOMC meeting.

The central bank picked the possible reduction in U.S. monetary stimulus and uncertainties over the Syrian crisis as major risks to the global economy.

U.S. President Barak Obama hinted at diplomatic solution over the Syrian crisis by saying he will make joint efforts with Russia and other partners to encourage Syria to give up chemical weapons, but concerns remained over the possible military strike against Syria.

Dubai crude, South Korea's benchmark, averaged 107.06 U.S. dollars per barrel in August, up 3.4 percent from the prior month.

Among large-cap shares, decliners outnumbered gainers. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 0.6 percent, but top steelmaker POSCO declined more than 2 percent. The nation's No. 2 carmaker Kia Motors slid around 2 percent, and the nation's biggest auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis fell 1.9 percent.

The South Korean currency finished at 1,085.0 won against the greenback, up 1.5 won from Wednesday's close.

Bond prices ended higher. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes fell 0.03 percentage point to 2.91 percent, and the return on the benchmark 10-year government bonds slid 0.02 percentage point to 3.53 percent. Endi

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