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Seoul shares end almost flat ahead of key US inflation report

March 29, 2024 - 16:04 By Yonhap
An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Friday. (Yonhap)

South Korean stocks finished nearly unchanged Friday as investors took a wait-and-see stance ahead of a key US inflation report that would set the tone for the Federal Reserve's rate-setting decision. The local currency fell against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index added 0.81 point, or 0.03 percent, to close at 2,746.63.

Trade volume was moderate at 485.5 million shares worth 11 trillion won ($8.17 billion), with losers beating winners 603 to 270.

Foreign investors remained net buyers, scooping up a net 774.9 billion won worth of local shares, while institutions dumped a net 282.6 billion won and individuals sold 480 billion won.

"With the US stock market closing Friday, investors here are waiting for the US personal consumption expenditures price index data," said Kim Ji-won, an analyst from KB Securities.

The PCE data that measures monthly changes in the price of consumer goods and services will be released later in the day. It is the Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation.

In Seoul, tech and bio shares led the slight upturn, while auto and battery shares finished in negative territory.

Chip giant Samsung Electronics rose 1.98 percent to 82,400 won, and its rival SK hynix advanced 2.69 percent to 183,000 won.

Leading pharmaceutical firm Celltrion jumped 4.03 percent to 191,200 won, and steel giant Posco Holdings edged up 0.24 percent to 422,000 won.

Hybe, the record label behind global superstars BTS, increased 0.44 percent to 230,000 won, and top online portal operator Naver went up 0.16 percent to 187,400 won.

Top carmaker Hyundai Motor fell 1.69 percent to 233,000 won, and its sister Kia dropped 1.61 percent to 110,200 won.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution declined 1.62 percent to 395,000 won, and No. 1 mobile carrier SK Telecom skidded 1.5 percent to 52,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,347.2 won against the greenback, down 1 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)