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Seoul shares rebound on eased rate hike uncertainties

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

South Korean stocks rebounded Wednesday on eased uncertainties about the central bank's rate decision. The Korean won rose against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 10.85 points, or 0.47 percent, to close at 2,328.61 points.

Trading volume was relatively small at about 303 million shares worth some 5.9 trillion won (US$4.5 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 550 to 298.

Institutions bought a net 357 billion won, while foreigners sold 101 billion won and retail investors offloaded 257 billion won.

The key stock index rebounded after a two-day loss since Monday, despite an overnight US stock fall.

The Bank of Korea (BOK) delivered an unprecedented 0.5 percentage-point rate hike to combat fast-growing inflation pressure pushed up by high energy and commodity prices.

The BOK governor said one or two more rate increases may be possible before the end of this year if the path of inflation remains within its expectations.

Investors' eyes are now on the US consumer price index (CPI) for June, a key gauge for the Federal Reserve's rate decision at the end of this month.

"The BOK's big step and the stabilizing currency markets seem to have affected the local stock market," Meritz Securities analyst Lee Jin-woo said.

"Eased short-term uncertainties seem to have pushed up the stock prices a bit, although we still see uncertainties about events like the US CPI data," he added.

Market behemoth Samsung Electronics slipped 0.17 percent to 58,000 won, with No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix growing 0.75 percent to 94,000 won.

Battery giant LG Energy Solution lost 0.25 percent to 400,000 won, while bio heavyweight Celltrion gained 1.33 percent to 190,000 won.

Leading automaker Hyundai Motor rose 2.51 percent to 183,500 won, with car parts maker Hyundai Mobis swelling 2.94 percent to 210,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,306.9 won against the US dollar, up 5.2 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)

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