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Seoul shares drop to 10-month low ahead of Fed meeting

By Yonhap

Published : Oct. 31, 2023 - 16:09

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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 slid to the lowest point since early January on Tuesday as investors await the Federal Reserve's policy meeting this week. The local currency rose against the greenback.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index fell 32.56 points, or 1.41 percent, to close at 2,277.99, marking the lowest point since Jan. 5, when the comparable figure was 2,264.65.

Trading volume was moderate at 387.6 million shares worth 8 trillion won ($5.95 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 639 to 252.

Amid the outlook that the Fed will hold its key rates steady this week, investors sat on the sidelines as they waited for hints from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on the bank's future policy direction.

"Investors focused on various events during the session, including Samsung's conference call and China's manufacturing and service data," said Kim Seok-hwan, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities Co.

Foreigners dumped a net 324 billion won worth of local shares, while individuals bought a net 341 billion won. Institutions offloaded 69 billion won.

Top tech giant Samsung Electronics fell 0.59 percent to 66,900 won as its operating profit sank nearly 80 percent in the third quarter, despite its semiconductor business managing to reduce losses.

Battery makers plunged due to Tesla's slump overnight, with industry leader LG Energy Solution dropping 4.81 percent to 385,500 won and its smaller rival Samsung SDI losing 5.86 percent to 425,500 won.

Steelmakers finished bearish as well, with Posco Holdings falling 4.97 percent to 411,500 won and Korea Zinc losing 4.29 percent to 469,000 won.

Cosmetic firms gathered ground on reports that the companies will raise the prices of their products, with AmorePacific soaring 11.07 percent to 126,400 won and LG Household & Health Care adding 1.45 percent to 315,500 won.

The local currency ended at 1,350.50 won against the US dollar, up 0.4 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)