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Seoul shares up on eased global banking system woes

March 21, 2023 - 16:18 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 higher Tuesday, as fears over a global banking turmoil have somewhat eased and investors expect the Federal Reserve to have a milder tone regarding monetary tightening ahead of its rate-setting meeting, analysts said. The local currency fell against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index added 9.15 points, or 0.38 percent, to close at 2,388.35. Trading volume was a bit slim at 345.82 million shares worth 7.14 trillion won ($5.45 billion), with decliners outpacing gainers 456 to 426.

Institutions bought a net 114 billion won worth of shares, while foreign and retail investors sold a net 55.3 billion won and 83.9 billion won worth of shares, respectively.

The index opened higher, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street, and managed to have upward momentum throughout the session on growing hopes that the contagion risk in the global financial market sparked by the failure of American lenders earlier this month will not be high amid efforts by governments around the world to stem the spread of the recent turmoil.

On Sunday, Switzerland's biggest bank, UBS, said it has agreed to buy Credit Suisse in an emergency rescue deal engineered by its authorities in the latest efforts by governments around the world to stem the spread of the banking sector turmoil.

Eyes are also on the Fed's monetary policy path in the runup to the two-day rate-setting meeting set to begin Tuesday.

"The Fed is widely expected to hike rates by one-quarter of a percentage point this time, and some have stressed the need for freezing the rates this time," said Noh Dong-kil, an analyst at Shinhan Investment & Securities Co. "The Fed's possible cautious approach will help boost investor sentiment."

In Seoul, top-cap shares traded mixed.

Samsung Electronics inched up 0.17 percent to 60,300 won, while chip giant SK hynix lost 0.12 percent to 83,600 won.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution added 0.37 percent to 546,000 won, and Samsung SDI grew 0.28 percent to 717,000 won. But LG Chem sank 0.88 percent to 677,000 won.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor increased 0.4 percent to 175,800 won, while its affiliate Kia shed 0.38 percent to 77,700 won.

But bio shares fell following marked gains the previous session. Samsung Biologics dropped 0.37 percent to 809,000 won, and Celltrion tumbled 1.2 percent to 156,000 won.

Internet giant Naver lost 0.5 percent to 200,500 won, and Kakao, the operator of the popular mobile messenger KakaoTalk, shed 0.16 percent to 60,900 won.

The local currency ended at 1,311.2 won against the US dollar, down 1.1 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)