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Seoul shares down for 2nd day on Powell's comments on rate cuts

Feb. 6, 2024 - 16:08 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 shares closed lower for a second consecutive day Tuesday amid US rate woes prompted by the Federal Reserve chair. The local currency slightly gained ground against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index lost 15.11 points, or 0.58 percent, to close at 2,576.20.

Trade volume was heavy at 404.4 million shares worth 10.1 trillion won ($7.6 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 613 to 265.

Foreign investors scooped up a net 338.1 billion won worth of shares, while institutions offloaded 233.3 billion won. Retail investors dumped a net 125.2 billion won.

The Kospi had extended losses after opening lower, tracking overnight losses on Wall Street caused by remarks from US Fed Chairman Jerome Powell that suggested there may be no rate cuts in the near future.

Large caps closed mixed.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics added 0.13 percent to 74,400 won, with its local rival in the semiconductor industry, SK hynix, surging 4.31 percent to 138,000 won.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution tumbled 3.08 percent to 377,000 won, while top chemicals producer LG Chem shed 0.96 percent to 462,500 won.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor lost 1.05 percent to 235,500 won, with its smaller affiliate Kia Motors plunging 5.66 percent to 111,600 won.

The local currency closed at 1,327.60 won against the greenback, up 3.20 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 2.0 basis point to 3.292 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds slipped 1.7 basis points to 3.322 percent. (Yonhap)