The Korea Herald

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Seoul shares close lower ahead of parliamentary elections, US inflation data

By Yonhap

Published : April 9, 2024 - 16:05

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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 lower Tuesday as investors grew more cautious ahead of parliamentary elections and the release of key US inflation data later this week. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.

After starting higher, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index lost 12.49 points, or 0.46 percent, to close at 2,705.16.

Trade volume was moderate at 458.4 million shares worth 9.48 trillion won ($6.99 billion), with decliners outpacing gainers 489 to 370.

Institutions bought stocks worth 124.9 billion won, while foreigners and retail investors unloaded local shares worth 134.2 billion won and 13.5 billion won, respectively.

Overnight, major US indexes closed almost flat as investors awaited the March consumer price index report, a key measure of inflation, to be released later this week.

Investors' eyes are also on the results of South Korea's parliamentary elections set to be held Wednesday.

"Investors' preference for risky assets decreased on increasing pressure from US rate cuts getting delayed and ahead of the release of March CPI," Lee Kyoung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities, said.

"Foreign investors, who have purchased a record-high amount of Korean shares recently, also turned to a selling mode, bringing negative impact on the South Korean stock market," he added.

Last week, a US monthly jobs report showed that the world's largest economy posted the biggest job growth in almost a year in March, raising bets the Federal Reserve may keep its interest rates elevated for longer.

In Seoul, market bellwether Samsung Electronics dipped 1.07 percent to 83,600 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix climbed 0.94 percent to 182,900 won.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution rose 0.27 percent to 374,000 won, but its smaller rivals, Samsung SDI and Posco Future M, dropped 2.14 percent and 0.53 percent to 411,000 won and 280,000 won, respectively.

Auto and bio shares lost ground.

Top carmaker Hyundai Motor retreated 1.94 percent to 228,000 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia dropped 0.46 percent to 108,000 won.

Bio giant Samsung Biologics decreased 1.23 percent to 805,000 won, and Celltrion slid 3.82 percent to 181,300 won.

The local currency ended at 1,354.90 won against the greenback, down 1.70 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)