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Seoul shares end tad higher ahead of US inflation data

May 14, 2024 - 15:59 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 ended slightly higher Tuesday as investors took a wait-and-see stance ahead of US inflation data expected to affect the US Federal Reserve's rate-setting decision. The Korean won dropped against the US greenback.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index went up 3.13 points, or 0.11 percent, to 2,730.34.

Trade volume was slim at 436.6 million shares worth 9.3 trillion won ($6.79 billion), with gainers outpacing decliners 526 to 342.

Foreign investors and institutions scooped up a net 80.8 billion won and 119.9 billion won worth of local shares, respectively, while individuals dumped a net 186.1 billion won.

Experts said investors are awaiting the release of the US consumer price index, which would set the overall tone for the Fed's future rate policy.

"Along with the upcoming CPI data, the Korean stock market is also watching big issues, such as Washington's tariff action against China and Beijing's stimulation packages," Lee Jae-won, an analyst at Shinhan Securities, said.

Market heavyweights traded in mixed territory.

Top cap Samsung Electronics fell 0.13 percent to 78,300 won, while its chipmaking rival SK hynix increased 0.82 percent to 185,300 won.

Hyundai Motor, the country's No. 1 carmaker, climbed 0.61 percent to 246,500 won, but its sister Kia dropped 0.35 percent to 113,900 won.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution rose 1.05 percent to 385,500 won, and Posco Future M retreated 0.54 percent to 274,500 won.

Online portal operator Naver edged up 0.05 percent to 184,400 won amid a continued stake sale dispute with Japan's popular messenger Line operator, while its rival Kakao declined 0.74 percent to 46,650 won.

The local currency ended at 1,369.1 won against the US dollar, down 0.9 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 0.2 basis point to 3.454 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds dropped 0.4 basis point to 3.489 percent. (Yonhap)