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Seoul shares down amid possible US government shutdown woes

Nov. 13, 2023 - 16:25 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 finished lower Monday amid concerns of a potential US government shutdown following a cut in Moody's rating outlook for the United States. The local currency fell against the US dollar.

After choppy trading, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index slipped 5.90 points, or 0.24 percent, to close at 2,403.76.

Trading volume was slim at 299.3 million shares worth 5.8 trillion won ($4.37 billion). Losers outnumbered gainers 592 to 283. Institutions net purchased 35.5 billion won, while foreigners and individual investors net sold 31.3 billion won and 21.7 billion won, respectively.

The Kospi opened higher after the country's exports rose 3.2 percent on-year to some $182 billion in the first 10 days of the month, led by a 1.3 percent increase in outbound shipments of semiconductors, raising hopes that the prolonged downturn in the industry may finally be coming to an end.

Investors remained cautious after Moody's cut its rating outlook for the US to "negative" from "stable," citing a political deadlock in Congress over spending as a potential risk to the nation's fiscal health.

The report came amid fears that the US may face a government shutdown should Congress fail to pass a spending plan by Friday.

"The Kospi is showing shaky movements, unlike the US stock market, which is showing a rebound toward the year's end," DS Investment & Securities analyst Yang Hye-jeong said.

"The semiconductor sector is one that is continuing a positive trend despite increased volatility. The recent improvements in the Nasdaq may also be a positive signal for South Korea's semiconductor industry," she added.

In Seoul, large caps closed mixed.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics edged down 0.14 percent to 70,400 won, while leading mobile carrier SK Telecom gained 0.6 percent to 50,200 won.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor slipped 0.23 percent to 173,300 won, with its smaller affiliate Kia staying flat at 77,000 won.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution advanced 1.09 percent to 415,500 won, while its smaller rival Samsung SDI lost 0.71 percent to 417,700 won.

The local currency ended at 1,325.10 won against the greenback, down 8.30 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)