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Seoul shares end lower amid rate hike woes

June 8, 2023 - 16:14 By 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)

Seoul shares finished lower Thursday, as rate hike fears resurfaced ahead of US inflation data and the Federal Reserve's rate decision next week. The Korean won rose slightly against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index fell 4.75 points, or 0.18 percent, to close at 2,610.85.

Trading volume was moderate at 570.8 million shares worth 11.25 trillion won ($8.63 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 503 to 369.

Institutions and retail investors scooped up a net 316.18 billion won and 67.8 billion won worth of local shares, respectively, while overseas investors dumped a net 392.2 billion won.

Overnight, Wall Street closed mixed, as a recent market rally, driven by an artificial intelligence boom, paused. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.27 percent, while the S&P 500 shed 0.38 percent and the Nasdaq Composite declined 1.29 percent.

Traders are on their toes ahead of the release of the US Consumer Price Index report for May and the results of the Fed's two-day rate decision meeting, starting June 13.

Rate hike fears were reignited overnight, partly after the Bank of Canada unexpectedly raised the benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 4.75 percent amid stubbornly high inflation.

The Fed is widely expected to freeze rates at its June meeting, but expectations are growing that it could raise rates at least one more time this year as the US economy remains robust.

In Seoul, most large-cap issues lost ground.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 0.14 percent to close at 70,900 won, leading battery maker LG Energy Solution declined 2.15 percent to 591,000 won, and Samsung SDI retreated 0.82 percent to 729,000 won.

Chemical firm LG Chem went down 1.21 percent to 737,000 won, and steel giant POSCO holdings inched down 0.13 percent to 388,000 won.

Among gainers, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix added 1.57 percent to 109,700 won and top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. inched up 0.15 percent to 196,700 won. LG Electronics gained 0.8 percent to 126,700 won.

The local currency closed at 1,303.7 won against the US dollar, up 0.1 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)