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Seoul shares sink amid China uncertainties

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

South Korean stocks closed more than 1 percent lower Monday, as investor sentiment remained wary amid the extended COVID-19 restrictions in China that have stoked concerns over global supply disruptions. The local currency fell sharply against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index retreated 29.59 points, or 1.21 percent, to 2,408.27. Trading volume was moderate at 343.2 million shares worth 6.36 trillion won ($4.74 billion) with decliners far outnumbering gainers 703 to 166.

"The news on Apple's shipment decrease weighed on the local stock market, plus the fall in the Philadelphia Semiconductor Sector," Mirae Asset Securities Co. analyst Seo Sang-young said, referring to the chip index based on 30 US semiconductor companies.

The US tech-rich Nasdaq ended lower Friday, with Apple Inc. dipping 2 percent, after media reports it would see a cut in iPhone shipments due to a workers' protest at a main factory in China run by Foxconn.

Beijing has maintained strict COVID-19 restrictions amid a surge in infection cases, causing global supply chain disruptions, which eventually lead to a global recession.

Investors are expected to remain cautious this week as they await any remarks from US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and the release of the Beige Book, the Fed's review on current economic conditions.

The US retail sales from Black Friday will also likely offer clues about the world's largest economy amid high inflation and rising interest rates, as it is considered a gauge for consumer confidence, analysts said.

In Seoul, most tech and IT large-caps finished in the red. Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics slid 1.5 percent to 60,100 won, and top battery maker LG Energy Solution fell 1.6 percent to 562,000 won.

Chip giant SK hynix dipped 2.4 percent to 83,100 won. Internet portal operator Naver also retreated 2.4 percent to 180,500 won.

Builders and logistics companies declined amid a truckers' strike that has disrupted cement, steel and other supplies. Hyundai Glovis, the logistics arm of Hyundai Motor, lost 2.6 percent, and Hyundai Engineering & Construction fell 1.8 percent to 39,400 won.

Cosmetics stocks, in contrast, were among the gainers. LG Household & Health Care rose 0.7 percent to 617,000 won, and AmorePacific climbed 2.1 percent to 124,500 won.

The local currency ended at 1,340.20 won against the US dollar, down 16.5 won from Friday's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 2.5 basis points to 3.669 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds added 0.3 basis point to 3.673 percent. (Yonhap)

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