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Seoul shares sink over 1% on tech, battery losses

Dec. 1, 2023 - 16:12 By Yonhap
An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Friday. (Yonhap)

South Korean stocks tumbled more than 1 percent Friday as semiconductor and battery shares took a cue from overnight losses in US heavyweights, like Nvidia and Tesla. The local currency sharply fell against the US greenback.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index lost 30.28 points, or 1.19 percent, to close at 2,505.01.

Trading volume was moderate at 504 million shares worth 8.6 trillion won (US$6.59 million), with losers outpacing winners 489 to 386.

Institutions and foreigners led the sharp decline, selling a net 586.6 billion won worth of local shares and offsetting a net 561.4 billion won purchase by individuals.

An overnight fall in Tesla and AI chip leader Nvidia sapped investor sentiment for local chipmakers and battery makers.

Nvidia shed 2.9 percent and Tesla shares were off by 1.7 percent on profit-taking on the last day of November.

"Local chip and battery shares were affected by a drop in Tesla and Nvidia," Choi Yoo-jun, an analyst from Shinhan Securities, said. "US investors took profit from recent gains in tech shares."

In Seoul, battery firms were among the biggest losers, with industry leader LG Energy Solution slumping 5.72 percent to 428,500 won and its smaller rival Samsung SDI plunging 5.3 percent to 447,000 won. Battery material provider Posco Future M sank 3.24 percent to 314,000 won.

Top chemicals firm LG Chem slid 2.89 percent to 486,500 won, and No. 1 oil refinery SK Innovation slumped 6.08 percent to 134,400 won.

Samsung Electronics, the world's largest memory chipmaker and top cap on the Korean stock market, lost 1.1 percent to 72,000 won and its chipmaking rival SK hynix retreated 0.97 percent to 132,600 won.

Mobile carriers also went south, with industry leader SK Telecom sinking 3.07 percent to 50,600 won and KT falling 0.89 percent to 33,250 won.

But defense companies were bullish, with Hanwha Aerospace jumping 8.02 percent to 136,000 won and Korea Aerospace Industries vaulting 3.34 percent to 47,900 won.

The local currency ended at 1,305.8 won against the greenback, down 15.8 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)