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Seoul shares close lower on profit-taking

Feb. 20, 2024 - 15:56 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 finished sharply lower Tuesday as investors locked in gains after a recent rally. The local currency also fell against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index lost 22.47 points, or 0.84 percent, to close at 2,657.79, ending a two-day winning streak.

On Monday, the index finished at 2,680.26, the highest closing price since May 31, 2022, when it was 2,685.9.

Trade volume was heavy at 596.3 million shares worth 9.7 trillion won ($7.2 billion), with losers outnumbering winners 590 to 277.

Institutions led the decline, dumping a net 343 billion won worth of local shares. But foreigners remained net buyers with a net 98.9 billion won and individuals with 202.4 billion won.

"After the Kospi hit its highest point in more than one year, investors engaged in profit-taking," said Lee Jae-won from Shinhan Securities.

Market heavyweights ended in negative territory.

Samsung Electronics, the largest share in terms of market cap, slid 0.68 percent to 73,300 won and No. 2 SK hynix tumbled 1.12 percent to 149,600 won.

Top carmaker Hyundai Motor sank 4.16 percent to 242,000 won and its sister Kia went down 1.28 percent to 116,100 won.

Leading retailer Lotte Shopping fell 2.71 percent to 82,700 won and its rival Shinsegae decreased 2.22 percent to 185,300 won.

Major game publisher NCSOFT slipped 2.35 percent to 208,000 won and No. 1 online portal operator Naver descended 0.49 percent to 202,500 won.

But battery makers were among the rare winners, with industry leader LG Energy Solution rising 1.64 percent to 404,000 won and Posco Future M gaining 2.7 percent to 304,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,337.6 won against the greenback, down 2.4 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)