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Seoul stocks snap 2-day winning streak on recession, corporate earnings woes

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

South Korean shares snapped a two-day winning streak Monday as investors took to the sidelines amid woes about a recession and possibly lackluster corporate earnings. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) retreated 10.34 points, or 0.44 percent, to close at 2,340.27 points.

Trading volume was relatively small at about 369 million shares worth some 6.1 trillion won ($4.7 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 569 to 295.

Institutions sold a net 188 billion won worth of shares, and foreigners offloaded 17 billion won worth of stocks, while retail investors bought 191 billion won worth of shares in net value.

Stocks opened higher, driven by strong advances in tech and auto issues but oscillated between gains and losses before turning south as foreigners and institutions expanded selling.

The losses later deepened as a continued energy crunch from the ongoing war in Ukraine and prolonged supply bottlenecks have dimmed the outlooks for corporate earnings.

In the US, the estimate-beating jobs data reinforced market anxiety about aggressive monetary policy tightening that could tip its economy into a recession.

"The (quarterly) earnings will start coming in, with investors in their wait-and-see mode. Investors also seem to be bracing themselves for possibilities that the Fed may take more big steps to tighten its policies," Samsung Securities analyst Seo Jung-hoon said.

Market leader Samsung Electronics edged up 0.17 percent to 58,800 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix decreased 1.16 percent to 93,700 won.

The country's largest automaker Hyundai Motor advanced 0.56 percent to 179,000 won, with its smaller affiliate Kia adding 1.56 percent to 78,000 won.

Chemical giant LG Chem tumbled 3.33 percent to 522,000 won, and internet portal operator Naver dipped 3.41 percent to 240,500 won. Bio heavyweight Celltrion rose 1.92 percent to 186,000 won amid worries over a resurgence of coronavirus infections.

The local currency closed at 1,303.9 won against the US dollar, down 3.5 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)

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