(LEAD) Seoul shares up for 3rd day as bank fears fade

Seoul shares finished higher for a third straight session Thursday, as eased market jitters about the global banking sector have boosted investor sentiment. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) advanced 9.24 points, or 0.38 percent, to close at 2,453.16.

Trading volume was moderate at about 579 million shares worth some 10.3 trillion won (US$7.97 billion), with gainers far outnumbering losers 594 to 276.

Institutions and retail investors offloaded a net 142 billion won and 120 billion won worth of shares, respectively, while foreign investors bought 262 billion won.

Overnight, U.S. stocks finished higher, as big tech names led the advance on improved sentiment about the global banking sector, and on hopes of a potential rate hike pause by the Federal Reserve.

In Seoul, top-cap shares ended mixed, with chip stocks leading the overall market advance.

Samsung Electronics, the world's largest memory chip maker, added 0.8 percent to close at 63,200 won, and its smaller rival SK hynix rose 2.19 percent to 88,800 won.

U.S. memory chip maker Micron shot up more than 7 percent overnight on positive sentiment that the chip downturn has neared its bottom.

Leading carmaker Hyundai Motor added 0.44 percent to 181,200 won, while its smaller affiliate Kia shed 0.13 percent to 79,400 won.

LG Energy Solution added 0.86 percent to 588,000 won, while Samsung SDI declined 1.9 percent to 721,000 won. LG Chem shed 1.28 percent to 696,000 won and bio heavyweight Samsung Biologics also inched down 1.14 percent to 782,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,299 won against the dollar, up 3.7 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 0.9 basis point to 3.240 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond gained 0.3 basis point to 3.253 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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