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Seoul shares up for 6th day on speculation over less-aggressive US rate hikes

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)

Seoul shares closed higher Monday amid speculation a second straight quarterly US contraction may cause the Fed to become less aggressive in raising rates. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 0.75 point, or 0.03 percent, from the previous session to close at 2,451.5 points, extending its winning streak to the sixth day.

Trading volume was moderate at 480.94 million shares worth 7.4 trillion won ($5.7 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 490 to 346.

Individuals and foreigners bought a combined 176 billion won worth of stocks, fully offsetting institutions' net selling valued at 174 billion won.

Investor sentiment was a bit buoyed as the Fed recently hinted that the US central bank could slow down its pace of monetary easing, giving a boost to market sentiment.

The Fed on Thursday indicated the possible slowdown in policy tightening, following an aggressive 0.75 percentage-point hike in the benchmark interest rate.

In Seoul, airlines and shipbuilding stocks underpinned the main index.

Hanjin KAL Corp., the parent firm of national flag carrier Korean Air Lines Co., rose 1.2 percent to 60,700 won, the country's leading budget carrier Jeju Air Co. climbed 0.7 percent to 15,100 won, and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. gained 3.8 percent to 20,600 won.

Tech and auto stocks were among decliners.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. fell 0.2 percent to 61,300 won, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. declined 0.8 percent to 97,100 won, and the state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. shed 1.3 percent to 22,050 won.

The local currency closed at 1,304.00 won against the US dollar, down 4.9 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 7.2 basis points to 3.081 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds climbed 6.3 basis points to 3.130 percent. (Yonhap)

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