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Seoul shares close higher as US inflation softens

Nov. 15, 2023 - 16:15 By Yonhap
An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

South Korean shares closed higher Wednesday after US reports showed softer inflation data that raised hopes of an end to US rate hikes. The local currency sharply gained ground against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index gained 53.42 points, or 2.2 percent, to close at 2,486.67.

Trading volume was moderate at 413.1 million shares worth 9.22 trillion won ($7.08 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 752 to 140. Foreigners scooped up a net 542.3 billion won worth of local shares, while institutions net purchased 1.09 trillion won. Individuals offloaded a net 1.61 trillion won.

The Kospi opened higher tracking overnight gains on Wall Street following reports that the US consumer price index, a key measure of inflation, grew at the slowest pace in October since 2021.

The slower than expected rise in the CPI reinforced investor sentiment that the US Federal Reserve may pause, or even halt, its interest rate hikes.

"Based on leading indicators of inflation, the CPI will likely stay stable through early next year with core CPI stabilized through mid-2024," KB Securities analyst Lee Eun-taek said in a report.

"One event that requires close attention is the Fed's revised economic outlook that will be released at the Federal Open Market Committee meeting in December," Lee added.

In Seoul, most large caps finished higher.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 1.98 percent to 72,200 won, with leading battery maker LG Energy Solution surging 3.32 percent to 451,500 won.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor jumped 4.17 percent to 182,500 won, while top mobile carrier SK Telecom stayed flat at 51,300 won.

The local currency closed at 1,300.80 won against the greenback, up 28.10 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)