The Korea Herald


Seoul shares down for 4th day ahead of earnings season

By Yonhap

Published : April 25, 2023 - 16:27

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

South Korean stocks ended markedly lower Tuesday, led by big-cap tech losses, as investors took to the sidelines awaiting major corporate earnings reports. The local currency rose against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index shed 34.48 points, or 1.37 percent, to close at 2,489.02, extending its losing streak to a fourth session.

Trading volume was a bit heavy at 875.67 million shares worth 13.46 trillion won ($10.1 billion), with decliners outpacing gainers 641 to 248.

Institutions sold a net 760 million won worth of shares, while foreigners and individuals bought a net 7.44 billion won and 870 million won worth of shares, respectively.

Investors are looking to first-quarter earnings reports from major companies, including chip giants Samsung Electronics and SK hynix, amid a gloomy outlook over a global economic slowdown.

"Market volatility has grown as more investors moved to lock in profits from recent gains amid weak momentum," Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities Co., said.

Investors also want to assess the impact of high borrowing costs on companies' bottom lines, he added.

South Korea is expected to experience a slowdown in its economic growth this year, though the Bank of Korea said Tuesday the economy grew 0.3 percent in the first quarter following a 0.4 percent on-quarter contraction the previous quarter.

Later this week, the US plans to issue data on its economic growth and the personal consumption expenditures price index, as the Federal Reserve is expected to deliver another 25-basis-point interest rate hike at its May meeting.

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

In Seoul, major tech and chemical firms lost ground to drag down the index.

Top-cap Samsung Electronics sank 2.45 percent to 63,600 won, and chip giant SK hynix fell 1.95 percent to 85,500 won.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution decreased 2.65 percent to 551,000 won, and Samsung SDI slid 2.75 percent to 706,000 won. LG Chem dropped 3.26 percent to 742,000 won.

No. 1 steelmaker Posco Holdings dived 4.77 percent to 379,500 won, and battery components maker Posco Future M tumbled 4.4 percent to 347,500 won.

Internet giant Naver lost 2.05 percent to 186,100 won, and Kakao, the operator of popular mobile messenger KakaoTalk, went down 2.1 percent to 56,000 won.

But top automaker Hyundai Motor jumped 4.74 percent to 201,000 won after reporting its first-quarter net profit more than doubled to 3.3 trillion won on the back of the growth in vehicle output amid an eased chip shortage and solid global demand.

Its affiliate Kia also advanced 2.24 percent to 86,600 won.

Among decliners, Samsung Biologics shed 1.38 percent to 786,000 won, and Celltrion fell 0.66 percent to 165,400 won.

The local currency ended at 1,332.2 won against the US dollar, up 2.6 won from the previous session's close when the figure hit the lowest figure this year. (Yonhap)