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Seoul shares end higher on Fed's rate cut hopes

Dec. 4, 2023 - 16:44 By Yonhap
An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)

South Korean stocks ended higher Monday amid speculation that the US Federal Reserve may start cutting its rates next year amid eased inflation woes. The local currency rose against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 9.94 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 2,514.95.

Trade volume was moderate at 489.9 million shares worth 8.5 trillion won ($6.5 billion), with gainers slightly outnumbering losers 458 to 411.

Institutions and foreigners bought shares worth 170.7 billion won and 258.9 billion won, respectively, while individuals unloaded 412.7 billion won worth of shares.

"The Kospi gained upward momentum as expectations continued that the Fed will begin to lower interest rates next year," Kim Seok-hwan, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities, said.

On Friday, all three major US indexes rallied on growing optimism that the Federal Reserve is done raising interest rates.

The S&P 500 rose 0.6 percent to hit its highest level in over a year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 0.8 percent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.6 percent.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has said its monetary policy is slowing the US economy as expected with its policy rate "well into restrictive territory."

In Seoul, tech and battery stocks were the lead gainers.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics added 0.83 percent to 72,600 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix dropped 1.13 percent to 131,100 won.

Internet portal operator Naver jumped 2.18 percent to 210,500 won, and Kakao, the operator of the country's top mobile messenger, climbed 2.21 percent to 50,800 won.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution rose 0.35 percent to 430,000 won, and its smaller rival POSCO Future M shot up 10.83 percent to 348,000 won.

Major shipbuilders, HD Hyundai Heavy Industries and HMM, soared 3.8 percent and 5.73 percent to 133,800 won and 16,780 won, respectively.

But auto shares ended in negative terrain, with Hyundai Motor down 0.66 percent to 181,600 won and Kia down 1.98 percent to 84,100 won.

Leading chemical producer LG Chem also retreated 2.77 percent to 473,000 won.

The local currency ended 1,304.00 won against the greenback, up 1.80 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)