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Seoul shares down for 3rd day on inflation, Fed woes

By Yonhap

Published : Aug. 14, 2023 - 16:02

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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 ended lower for the third consecutive day Monday on big-cap tech losses, as investor sentiment remains weak on lingering concerns over inflation and the Federal Reserve's policy path. The local currency fell against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index shed 20.39 points, or 0.79 percent, to close at 2,570.87. Trading volume was moderate at 613.21 million shares worth 9.83 trillion won ($7.38 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 601 to 288.

The index opened lower as US shares closed mixed Friday, and had extended losses further.

Institutions and foreigners sold a net 333.35 billion won and 119.22 billion won worth of shares, respectively, while retail investors bought a net 427.4 billion won.

"US tech shares fell on renewed concerns about inflationary pressure, and that also weighed down the KOSPI. The recent weakening of the local currency has also affected foreign buying," said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities Co.

US producer prices rose 0.3 percent in July, slightly more than expected, on the back of strong costs for services.

Eyes are also on the US retail sales report for July and the minutes of the Fed's rate-setting meeting last month. Both will be released later this week.

Investors expect the Fed to pause its interest rate hikes in September, though it has signaled that more work needs to be done to rein in inflation.

Top-cap tech and battery shares led the fall of the KOSPI.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 0.30 percent to 67,300 won, and chip giant SK hynix lost 0.35 percent to end at 114,900 won.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution decreased 0.91 percent to 542,000 won, and LG Chem tumbled 4.02 percent to 597,000 won. Samsung SDI dropped 3.63 percent to 610,000 won.

Major bio firm Samsung Biologics went down 0.87 percent to 794,000 won, and Celltrion decreased 0.6 percent to 154,000 won.

Carmakers also lost ground. Top automaker Hyundai Motor skidded 0.89 percent to 188,800 won, and its affiliate Kia slid 1.99 percent to 78,700 won.

No. 1 steelmaker Posco Holdings remained unchanged at 577,000 won, and Posco Future retreated 1.48 percent to 434,000 won.

But cosmetics rose on hope for sales growth as China lifted the ban on group tours to South Korea after six years.

Amorepacific rose 0.92 percent to 131,600 won and Hankook Cosmetics spiked 12.05 percent to 10,880 won. Kolmar Korea added 2.29 percent to finish at 58,100 won.

The local currency ended at 1,330.9 won against the US dollar, down 6.0 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)