The Korea Herald


Seoul shares close almost flat on Fed minutes despite chip gains

By Yonhap

Published : May 23, 2024 - 16:15

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

South Korean stocks closed almost flat Thursday as an increase in big-cap semiconductor shares was offset by hawkish tones in the latest minutes of the US Federal Reserve. The local currency rose against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index edged down 1.65 points, or 0.06 percent, to close at 2,721.81.

Trade volume was moderate at 421.6 million shares worth 11.3 trillion won ($8.3 billion), with losers beating winners 530 to 349.

Individual investors and institutions unloaded stocks worth 16.45 billion won and 369.96 billion won, respectively, offsetting foreigners' purchase of 356.3 billion won.

Overnight, Wall Street lost ground as the minutes of the US Federal Reserve's latest meeting showed the disappointment of its officials over sticky inflation, dashing hopes for early rate cuts.

Earlier in the day, the Bank of Korea also kept its rate unchanged at 3.5 percent for the 11th consecutive session, citing still-high inflation and a faster-than-expected growth projection for the year.

"The Kospi kicked off weak on hawkish comments in the Fed minutes but narrowed the loss later in the day as Samsung Electronics advanced," Lee Kyoung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities, said.

Major chipmakers Samsung Electronics and SK hynix jumped 0.77 percent and 1.16 percent to 78,300 won and 200,000 won, respectively, on the back of a stronger-than-expected earnings report by US chip giant Nvidia overnight.

HD Hyundai Heavy Industries soared 2.87 percent to 132,800 won, and chemical producer LG Chem advanced 2.87 percent.

But most of the other big-cap shares lost ground.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution dropped 0.55 percent to 362,000 won and its smaller rival Samsung SDI retreated 0.73 percent to 405,500 won.

KB Financial Group plunged 2.28 percent to 77,300 won, and Hana Financial Group slid 1.61 percent to 61,300 won.

Construction and engineering company Samsung C&T also plummeted 3.33 percent to 142,100 won on the negative circumstance of the building industry.

Internet portal operator Naver was down 0.27 percent to 182,100 won, and Kakao, the operator of the country's top mobile messenger, lost 0.76 percent to 45,450 won.

Auto shares were mixed, with Hyundai Motor down 1.99 percent to 271,500 won and its affiliate Kia up 1.35 percent to 120,500 won.

The local currency ended at 1,362.40 won against the greenback, up 0.5 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)