The Korea Herald


Seoul shares fall on tech losses amid rate hike uncertainty

By Yonhap

Published : Feb. 24, 2023 - 16:10

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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 ended lower Friday on losses in big-cap tech shares amid caution over the United States' monetary policy path amid high inflation. The local currency fell against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index shed 15.48 points, or 0.63 percent, to close at 2,423.61. Trading volume was slim at 363.7 million shares worth 6.86 trillion won ($5.26 billion), with decliners outpacing gainers 662 to 222.

The index opened higher, tracking US gains, but fell to negative terrain as tech shares turned lower.

Foreigners and institutions sold a net 302.3 billion won and 97.36 billion won worth of shares, respectively, while retail investors sold a net 364.58 billion won.

Eyes are on the Federal Reserve's monetary policy path as recent data still showed stubbornly high inflation. Investors worry about the Fed's pursuit of an extended period of higher rates to curb inflation.

The US' personal consumption expenditures index will be released Friday, which is a key price gauge for the Fed.

"Foreigners could reduce stock holdings on the Seoul bourse after the Bank of Korea froze the interest rate to widen the gap in rates with the US and since the Korean won has remained around the 1,300 won level," Kiwoom Securities analyst Han Ji-young said.

On Thursday, the central bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 3.5 percent amid mounting concerns over an economic slowdown.

In Seoul, most large-cap shares finished lower.

Samsung Electronics sank 1.13 percent to 61,300 won, and chip giant SK hynix lost 1.83 percent to 91,000 won.

Samsung SDI inched down 0.15 percent to 680,000 won.

But leading battery maker LG Energy Solution rose 0.79 percent to 511,000 won, and LG Chem went up 0.15 percent to 669,000 won.

Carmakers ended lower, with top automaker Hyundai Motor shedding 1.31 percent to 173,900 won and its affiliate Kia falling 1.44 percent to 75,300 won.

Bio shares ended mixed. Samsung Biologics decreased 0.76 percent to 783,000 won, while Celltrion added 0.2 percent to 149,300 won.

Internet giant Naver tumbled 2.58 percent to 208,000 won, and Kakao, the operator of the popular mobile messenger KakaoTalk, skidded 1.12 percent to 61,800 won.

Posco Holdings dived 2.87 percent to 322,000 won on profit-taking.

The local currency ended at 1,304.8 won against the US dollar, down 7.7 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)