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Seoul shares at over 3-month high amid Fed rate cut hopes

By Yonhap

Published : Dec. 20, 2023 - 16:59

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

South Korean stocks closed higher for the fifth-straight session Wednesday and at the highest in over three months amid expectations that the US Federal Reserve will start its rate-cutting cycle next year. The local currency rose against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index gained 45.75 points, or 1.78 percent, to close at 2,614.30, the highest since September 15 when the comparable figure was 2,601.28.

Trade volume was moderate at 559.4 million shares worth 11.02 trillion won ($8.48 billion), and winners outpaced losers 682 to 204.

US stock indexes gained ground overnight as last week's dovish policy pivot by the Fed continued to stoke upward market momentum.

Last week, the Fed kept its rate unchanged and hinted at possible cuts for 2024.

Roh Dong-kil, an analyst at Shinhan Securities, said "there is the possibility of the Kospi advancing further" into next year, expecting that the index could reach as high as the 2,800 mark.

In Seoul, blue chips ended higher across the board as institutions and foreign investors scooped up shares.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 1.91 percent to 74,800 won and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix also jumped 1.66 percent to 140,500 won.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution climbed 1.53 percent to 432,500 won and its smaller rival Samsung SDI added 2.55 percent to end at 462,000 won.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor soared 3.59 percent to 199,100 won and HMM, the country's No. 1 container shipper, surged 19.91 percent to 22,100 won following the announcement of its planned sale to Harim Group on Monday.

The local currency closed at 1,298.90 won against the greenback, up 8.90 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)