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Seoul shares close up as US debt jitters ease

May 30, 2023 - 16:08 By 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 sharply higher Tuesday on a breakthrough in US debt ceiling negotiations. The local currency fell against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index added 26.71 points, or 1.04 percent, to close at 2,585.52.

Trading volume was moderate at 631.71 million shares worth 10.75 trillion won ($8.11 billion), with winners outpacing losers 454 to 410.

Offshore investors picked up a net 673.03 billion won worth of shares, while retail and institutional investors shed a net 542.83 billion won and 112.41 billion won worth of shares, respectively.

Over the weekend, US President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy agreed to raise the nation's debt ceiling. The deal now needs to receive enough bipartisan support in Congress before the June 5 deadline to avert a potentially devastating federal default.

"Global market sentiment improved over the breakthrough in US debt negotiations, which had ripple effects on the Korean stock market," Seo Jung-hun, an analyst at Samsung Securities, said.

South Korean financial markets were closed Monday for a substitute public holiday for Buddha's Birthday, which fell on Saturday. US stock markets were also closed Monday for Memorial Day.

In Seoul, chipmakers continued their two-day winning streak as an artificial intelligence boom has been driving gains for chip stocks.

Samsung Electronics, the world's largest memory chip maker, surged 2.84 percent to 72,300 won. Another chip giant, SK hynix, also rose 1.01 percent to 110,300 won.

LG Electronics surged 10.83 percent to close at 124,900 won over the rosy prospects for the tech company's electric vehicle component business.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution added 0.35 percent to 580,000 won, and Samsung SDI jumped 3.61 percent to 718,000 won.

No. 1 steelmaker Posco Holdings gained 0.69 percent to 363,000 won, and Posco Future surged 5.4 percent to 341,500 won.

Carmakers lost ground. Top automaker Hyundai Motor shed 2.43 percent to 200,500 won, and its affiliate Kia slumped 2.06 percent to 85,600 won.

Major bio firm Samsung Biologics climbed 0.13 percent to 778,000 won, while Celltrion lost 0.46 percent to 172,300 won.

The local currency ended at 1,324.9 won against the US dollar, down 0.4 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)