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Seoul shares up for 3rd day ahead of US inflation data, Fed meeting

By Yonhap

Published : Dec. 12, 2023 - 16:43

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

South Korean stocks closed higher for the third straight trading day on Tuesday amid the growing hope over a possible slowdown in US inflation and the Federal Reserve's potential signal for rate cuts next year.

After choppy trading, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index added 9.91 points, or 0.39 percent, to close at 2,535.27, extending its winning streak to a third day.

Trade volume was low at 365 million shares worth 7.49 trillion won ($5.7 billion), with losers outpacing winners 454 to 409.

Foreigners bought a net 74.6 billion won worth of shares, while individuals offloaded a net 684.6 billion won. Institutions scooped up a net 594.1 billion won.

Seoul shares gathered ground amid the optimism surrounding the US inflation data, which is set to be released on Tuesday.

"Chipmakers gathered ground tracking gains from the US market amid expectations over slower inflation," said Han Ji-young, an analyst from Kiwoom Securities. "The market advance, however, was limited as investors sat on the sidelines ahead of the FOMC."

Tech shares gained ground, with top cap Samsung Electronics moving up 0.68 percent to 73,500 won and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix adding 1.63 percent to 131,000 won.

Financial firms also closed higher, with KB Financial rising 0.97 percent to 52,100 won and Shinhan Financial moving up 1.5 percent to 37,150 won.

Pharmaceutical firms closed bullish as well, with Samsung Biologics rising 0.14 percent to 704,000 won and Celltrion increasing 3.21 percent to 183,400 won.

Defense shares, on the other hand, lost ground amid concerns that Poland may scrap an arms deal with South Korea. Hanwha Aerospace closed unchanged at 128,700 won, with Hyundai Rotem losing 4.28 percent to 26,850 won.

The local currency closed at 1,314 won against the US dollar, up 2.5 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 3.4 basis points to 3.446 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds added 3.1 basis points to 3.491 percent. (Yonhap)