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Seoul stocks snap 3-day losing streak on eased concerns over oil prices, rate hikes

An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

South Korean stocks rebounded Wednesday on the back of a steep fall in oil prices, ending a three-day losing streak. The Korean won rose against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index closed up 37.70 points, or 1.44 percent, at 2,659.23 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 727 million shares worth some 9.2 trillion won ($7.4 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 734 to 128.

Institutions bought a net 365 billion won, while foreigners sold 133 billion won and retail investors offloaded 236 billion won.

Stocks opened sharply higher, tracking overnight rallies on Wall Street that stemmed from a plunge in oil prices.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite surged 2.92 percent, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 1.8 percent, largely as oil prices dipped below $100 a barrel amid talks between Russia and Ukraine.

The US Federal Reserve is widely expected to start hiking the interest rates from near zero this week, as the Ukraine conflict could further jack up US inflation.

"The drop in oil prices played the biggest factor in driving up the stock price. Overnight Wall Street gains and escalating expectations of progress in Russia-Ukraine talks also boosted investor sentiment," HI Investment & Securities analyst Park Sang-hyun said.

Investors also await the US Federal Reserve's decision on a possible interest hike at the US Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting this week.

Most large caps closed higher, with electronics, chemical and automobiles leading the market gain.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics climbed 1.29 percent to 70,400 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix jumped 3.56 percent to 116,500 won.

Top carmaker Hyundai Motor climbed 3.07 percent to 168,000 won, and Chemical heavyweight LG Chem added 0.68 percent to 442,000 won.

Among losers, wireless carrier KT lost 0.15 percent to 33,050 won.

The local currency closed at 1,235.70 won against the US dollar, up 7.10 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)

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