The Korea Herald


Seoul shares end slightly higher on individual buying

By Yonhap

Published : July 21, 2023 - 17:15

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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 Friday. (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 slightly higher Friday on strong individual buying amid a slump in the semiconductor sector. The local currency sharply lost ground against the US dollar.

Despite a weak start, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index added 9.53 points, or 0.37 percent, to finish at 2,609.76. Trading volume was moderate at 491.8 million shares worth 12 trillion won ($9.3 billion), with decliners outpacing gainers 507 to 353.

Retail investors scooped up a net 316.6 billion won worth of local shares, offsetting a combined selling of 311.7 billion won by foreigners and institutions.

"Investor sentiment was dampened by a drop in the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index, dragging down stock prices of local chipmakers, like Samsung Electronics and SK hynix," Choi Yu-joon, an analyst from Shinhan Securities Co., said.

The global semiconductor industry has been suffering low demand, with chip giant TSMC reporting its second-quarter net income fell 23.3 percent from a year ago.

In Seoul, chemical shares were among the biggest gainers for the day, with top chemical makers LG Chem rising 1.31 percent to 694,000 won and leading battery maker LG Energy Solution advancing 2.34 percent to 569,000 won.

Refineries were also strong as industry leader SK Innovation gained 1.73 percent to 176,700 won and No. 3 S-Oil climbed 0.85 percent to 70,800 won.

SK Chemicals soared 7.86 percent to 70,000 won on a deal with global pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca.

No. 1 online portal operator Naver went up 0.73 percent to 206,000 won, and its rival Kakao also inched up 0.2 percent to 50,600 won.

But tech shares went south, with Samsung Electronics, the world's leading memory chipmaker, falling 0.99 percent to 70,300 won and its rival SK hynix dropping 1.54 percent to 115,100 won.

The country's flagship air carrier Korean Air Lines slid 1.14 percent to 25,950 won, and Asiana Airlines retreated 0.94 percent to 11,640 won.

The local currency ended at 1,283.4 won against the US dollar, down 13.5 won from the previous day's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 2.1 basis points to 3.602 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds climbed 2.0 basis points to 3.601 percent. (Yonhap)