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Seoul shares up for 3rd day on tech gains; won at 5-month low

April 2, 2024 - 16:13 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)

Seoul shares closed higher Tuesday to extend their winning streak to a third day on strong gains in techs amid speculation that strong US data may prod the Federal Reserve to push back its rate-cut timetable. The Korean won tumbled to the lowest in over five months to the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 5.30 points, or 0.19 percent, to close at 2,753.16.

Trade volume was heavy at 618.07 million shares worth 12.9 trillion won ($9.5 billion), with decliners outpacing gainers 976 to 220.

Foreigners bought a net 1 trillion won worth of stocks, offsetting institutions and individuals' stock selling valued at a combined 976 billion won.

The market advance got a boost from robust manufacturing activities in the United States and China last month, analysts said.

The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing purchasing managers' index, released overnight, stayed at 50.3 last month, the highest since September 2022 despite a prolonged tightening mode by the Fed.

China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index expanded for the first time in six months in March, with the index coming in at 50.8, up from 49.1 a month earlier.

"Tech shares are likely to continue to support the main index ahead of the release of fourth-quarter earnings results (due this month) due to strong demand for semiconductors and other technology devices," No Dong-kil, an analyst at Shinhan Securities Co., said.

Meanwhile, the Fed has said it expects three rate cuts this year, but its easing policy may drag on if inflation remains elevated and the economy continues to grow.

In Seoul, tech stocks were lead gainers.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. rose 3.7 percent to 85,000 won, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. climbed 0.4 percent to 160,400 won, leading cosmetics firm AmorePacific Corp. gained 3.9 percent to 134,200 won, and shipbuilder Hanwha Ocean Co. was up 1 percent to 28,250 won.

Among decliners, top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. fell 3.3 percent to 220,000 won, national flag carrier Korean Air Co. declined 1.8 percent to 21,650 won, state utility Korea Electric Power Corp. shed 2.5 percent to 21,550 won, and leading battery maker LG Energy Solution Ltd. was down 0.6 percent to 393,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,352.10 won against the greenback, down 2.7 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 4.2 basis points to 3.333 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds climbed 4.2 basis points to 3.368 percent. (Yonhap)