The Korea Herald


Seoul shares down for 3rd day ahead of earnings season; Korean won hits yearly low

By Yonhap

Published : April 24, 2023 - 16:32

    • Link copied

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

South Korean stocks ended markedly lower Monday, led by big-cap tech losses, as investors took a pause ahead of the corporate earnings season and amid concerns about potential impacts of the Sino-US rivalry on business circumstances. The local currency fell to a yearly low against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index shed 20.90 points, or 0.82 percent, to close at 2,523.50, extending its losing streak to a third day. Trading volume was moderate at 914.5 million shares worth 11.36 trillion won ($8.53 billion), with decliners outpacing gainers 697 to 203.

Offshore and retail investors shed a net 34.61 billion won and 80.8 billion won worth of shares, respectively, while institutions bought a net 104.16 billion won of shares.

Investors are awaiting the first-quarter earnings reports by major companies set to be released later this week. Chip giants Samsung Electronics and SK hynix and several other major companies were expected to report poor results over a global economic slowdown.

"The stock market is forecast to have a weak momentum for the time being on weak quarterly business results. Investors await corporate strategies to boost earnings such as chipmakers' production cut," Daeshin Securities analyst Lee Kyung-min said.

Eyes are also on the upcoming summit between President Yoon Suk Yeol and US President Joe Biden, where the two sides will explore ways to deepen ties in semiconductors, batteries and other key areas, among other issues.

Yoon's seven-day state visit to the US that began on Monday comes at a time when Washington has been stepping up efforts to restrict China's access to advanced technologies by strengthening cooperation with South Korea and other partner nations.

In Seoul, top cap Samsung Electronics fell 0.76 percent to 65,200 won, and chip giant SK hynix sank 2.13 percent to 87,200 won on news that the US asked South Korea to urge the two giant chipmakers not to boost sales to China if Beijing bans Micron Technology from selling chips.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution decreased 1.05 percent to 566,000 won, and Samsung SDI slid 1.09 percent to 726,000 won. LG Chem lost 0.52 percent to 767,000 won.

Internet giant Naver inched down 0.16 percent to 190,000 won, and Kakao, the operator of the popular mobile messenger KakaoTalk, went down 1.21 percent to 57,200 won.

But carmakers ended higher following recent losses. Top automaker Hyundai Motor rose 0.79 percent to 191,900 won and its affiliate Kia grew 1.68 percent to 84,700 won.

Major bio shares finished mixed. Samsung Biologics surged 1.53 percent to 797,000 won, while Celltrion dropped 1.01 percent to 166,500 won.

The local currency ended at 1,334.8 won against the US dollar, down 6.6 won from the previous session's close to hit the lowest figure this year.

The weak Korean won came amid lingering concerns about the US Federal Reserve's continued monetary tightening steps, high inflation, South Korea's sluggish exports and geopolitical concerns, according to analysts.

Meanwhile, the Korea Exchange launched monitoring into trading of CJ, Daol Investment & Securities, Samchully, and several other Kospi and secondary KOSDAQ-listed shares, as the stocks nosedived to as low as the lower limit of 30 percent on massive sell orders from SG Securities Korea. (Yonhap)