The Korea Herald

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Seoul shares end tad higher amid Fed chief's testimony

By Yonhap

Published : March 7, 2024 - 16:25

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

South Korean stocks closed slightly higher Thursday after US Fed Chairman Jerome Powell hinted at a possible rate cut this year, while acknowledging economic uncertainties still remain. The local currency gained against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index added 6.13 points, or 0.23 percent, to 2,647.62.

Trade volume was moderate at 447 million shares worth 10.2 trillion won ($7.72 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 591 to 297.

Foreigners offloaded 308 billion won worth of stocks, while individuals scooped up a net 269 billion won. Institutions sold a net 42.4 billion won.

Powell hinted that the rate cut is likely "at some point this year," alleviating concerns over a delay in a potential rate reduction by the Fed amid the lingering inflation woes.

The Fed chief, however, also acknowledged that economic uncertainties still remain, with inflation yet to show signs of a full-fledged slowdown.

"Defense shares also continued to trade higher amid the rising concerns over security following the Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas war," Kim Dae-joon, a researcher at Korea Investment and Securities, said.

In Seoul, LIG Nex1, a defense company, moved up 5.4 percent to 177,600 won, and Hanwha gained 0.68 percent to 29,750 won.

Top tech giant Samsung Electronics finished 0.96 percent lower to 72,200 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix added 1.23 percent to 164,900 won.

Top battery maker LG Energy Solution gained 3.23 percent to 399,500 won, and Samsung SDI jumped 13.03 percent to 412,000 won.

Foodstuff companies, on the other hand, closed lower, with CJ Cheiljedang falling 2.07 percent to 283,500 won and Orion decreasing 2.34 percent to 91,900 won.

The local currency ended at 1,330.9 won against the greenback, up 3.6 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)