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Seoul stocks end higher amid eased concerns over rate hikes

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

Seoul stocks closed higher Wednesday amid expectations that the US Federal Reserve might ease aggressive monetary tightening in the coming months. The Korean won rose against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index gained 12.74 points, or 0.53 percent, to close at 2,418.01.

Trading volume was moderate at 466.1 million shares worth 7.37 trillion won ($ 5.4 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 663 to 215.

Foreign investors bought a net 83.3 billion won worth of shares, while institutional and retail investors offloaded a combined net 113.8 billion won.

The market opened higher, tracking overnight Wall Street gains, as traders bet that the Fed may not take aggressive monetary tightening, with inflation data showing signs of peaking.

They also seemed to shrug off China's recent upticks in COVID-19 cases and possibility of tightening virus restrictions that could send shock waves across the global economy.

In Seoul, most large-cap shares closed up.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics edged up 0.66 percent to end at 61,000 won, and smaller rival SK hynix closed flat at 85,200 won.

Top carmaker Hyundai Motor added 0.3 percent to 166,000 won and sister affiliate Kia inched up 1.69 percent at 66,300 won.

Kakao rose 2.58 percent to close at 55,700 won on news that Saudi Arabia might invest in the group's entertainment unit.

Among losers, battery maker LG Energy Solution shed 1.75 percent at 561,000 won, and biopharmaceutical firm Celltrion lost 0.85 percent to 175,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,351.80 won against the US dollar, up 4.8 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)

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