The Korea Herald


Seoul shares end lower ahead of FOMC minutes release

By Yonhap

Published : July 5, 2023 - 16:30

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An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap) An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

South Korean stocks closed lower Wednesday with investors waiting for the release of the minutes of the US Federal Open Market Committee's June meeting this week. The local currency rose against the US dollar.

After starting marginally higher, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index sank 14.31 points, or 0.55 percent, to close at 2,579.00. Trading volume was moderate at 589.2 million shares worth 10.05 trillion won ($7.7 billion), with decliners outnumbering gainers 632 to 243.

Foreign and retail investors bought a net 581.8 billion won worth of stocks, while institutions sold off a total of 614.4 billion won.

Investors are paying close attention to the release of June's FOMC minutes later this week as there could be signs of additional rate hikes, according to analysts at Mirae Asset Securities.

In recent weeks, US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has made hawkish remarks reaffirming more interest rate hikes ahead.

In Seoul, most large-cap tech and auto stocks ended in negative terrain.

Market behemoth Samsung Electronics plunged 1.37 percent and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix also lost more than 1 percent.

Top battery maker LG Energy Solution dropped 0.35 percent and its smaller rival Samsung SDI lost 0.42 percent. Leading chemical producer LG Chem slid almost 0.6 percent.

Leading automaker Hyundai Motor sank 1.2 percent and its affiliate Kia went down 0.9 percent.

IT stocks also lost ground, with internet portal operator Naver losing 1.17 percent, and Kakao, the operator of popular mobile messenger KakaoTalk, plunging more than 2 percent.

The financial sector also closed in the red after financial regulators said they will facilitate more competition between commercial banks by bringing in new players.

KB Financial Group, Shinhan Financial Group and Hana Financial Group all declined more than 1 percent.

In contrast, bio stocks gained ground.

Samsung Biologics advanced more than 1.2 percent a day after it announced a combined $1.08 billion worth of partnership contracts with US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer so far this year. Celltrion jumped 1.8 percent.

HD Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering shot up more than 2 percent following news it won a 96.9 billion-won order to build one liquefied petroleum gas carrier for an Oceanian shipper.

The local currency ended at 1,298.60 won against the greenback, up 2.8 won from Tuesday's close. (Yonhap)