(LEAD) Seoul shares down for 4th day on tech losses, rate woes

Seoul shares ended lower Friday following tech losses on Wall Street amid concerns over China's ban on Apple Inc.'s use by government officials and the Federal Reserve's possible rate hikes. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 0.58 point, or 0.02 percent, to close at 2,547.68, extending its losses to the fourth session. The KOSPI has risen 0.6 percent this week.

Trading volume was moderate at 386.53 million shares worth 7.52 trillion won (US$5.6 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 608 to 267.

China said that it plans to expand its ban on the use of iPhones in government agencies and state-owned companies, weighing on big tech firms that heavily rely on China, analysts said.

Investors are also concerned that the U.S. Federal Reserve may raise interest rates further this year following a better-than-expected services index and solid jobless claims figures, they said.

Institutions and individuals bought a combined 324 billion won worth of stocks, offsetting foreign selling valued at 354 billion won.

In Seoul, tech and auto stocks were the lead decliners.

Market behemoth Samsung Electronics Co. fell 0.1 percent to 70,300 won, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. declined 4 percent to 113,700 won, top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. dropped 0.8 percent to 185,700 won, and leading car battery maker LG Energy Solution shed 1.6 percent to 509,000 won.

Among gainers, national flag carrier Korean Air Co. rose 1.1 percent to 22,750 won, the state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. climbed 3.4 percent to 18,420 won, and leading steelmaker POSCO Holdings was up 2.6 percent to 583,000 won.

The local currency ended at 1,334.40 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 5.2 basis points at 3.795 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds declined 5.6 basis points to 3.837 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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