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Seoul shares close over 1% higher after Fed chief's dovish comments

By Yonhap

Published : March 8, 2024 - 16:04

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

South Korean stocks closed more than 1 percent higher Friday as investors cheered US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's testimony hinting at a rate cut this year. The local currency gained against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index added 32.73 points, or 1.24 percent, to 2,680.35.

Trade volume was moderate at 444.9 million shares worth 11.1 trillion won ($8.45 billion), with gainers outpacing losers 520 to 350.

Foreigners bought a net 178 billion won worth of stocks, while individuals offloaded a net 906 billion won. Institutions scooped up a net 698.5 billion won.

Investor sentiment was apparently boosted after Powell told the Senate on Thursday that the Fed is "not far" from being confident that inflation is moving toward the target level of 2 percent.

He also noted the revision in the Fed's rate policy may come "at some point this year" in a separate testimony made to the House of Representatives the previous day.

"As Powell's testimonies ended, investors became less concerned about monetary policy-related risks," said Kim Dae-wook, a researcher at Hana Securities.

In Seoul, most market heavyweights ended in positive territory.

Top tech giant Samsung Electronics gained 1.52 percent to 73,300 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix added 4.24 percent to 171,900 won.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution rose 0.75 percent to 402,500 won, and Samsung SDI climbed 3.4 percent to 426,000 won.

Pharmaceutical firms were winners as well, with Samsung Biologics rising 5.28 percent to 838,000 won and Celltrion increasing 1.81 percent to 180,300 won.

Naver, which operates the country's largest search engine, shed 0.53 percent to 188,000 won, and its smaller rival Kakao advanced 0.57 percent to 53,200 won.

Hybe, a record label behind BTS, rose 4.78 percent to 194,600 won as investors hunted undervalued entertainment shares.

HMM, South Korea's top container shipper, lost 0.35 percent to 16,950 won after the government announced it has no plans to restart its sales.

The local currency ended at 1,319.8 won against the greenback, up 11.1 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)