The Korea Herald


Seoul shares fall for 6th day amid US rate hikes, China woes

By Yonhap

Published : Aug. 18, 2023 - 16:28

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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 fell for the sixth consecutive session Friday to a three-month low on concerns about the Federal Reserve's continued push for aggressive monetary tightening and risks in the Chinese property sector and the broader economy. The local currency rose against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index shed 15.35 points, or 0.61 percent, to close at 2,504.50. It was the lowest level since May 18, when the Kospi ended at 2,515.4.

Trading volume was moderate at 549.45 million shares worth 10.49 trillion won (US$7.84 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 520 to 358.

The index opened lower, tracking overnight US losses, and had erased most of the earlier losses on solid retail buying before skidding again to near the 2,500 level.

Institutions and foreigners sold a net 326.83 billion won and 65.2 billion won worth of shares, respectively, while retail investors bought a net 353.9 billion won.

"The stock market appears to have lost momentum and earlier hopes for a summer rally are fading, as high interest rates could continue for longer to curb inflation based on relatively sound data about the US economy," Han Ji-young, an analyst from Kiwoon Securities, said.

The 10-year Treasury yield neared recent highs in the United States and elsewhere, as investors expect the Fed to continue its aggressive monetary tightening.

Adding to these woes is China's real estate sector and its impact on the global market, as property giant Evergrande Group filed for bankruptcy in the US on Tuesday and Country Garden is struggling with debt problems.

On the Seoul bourse, most top-cap shares ended lower.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 0.6 percent to 66,300 won, and leading battery maker LG Energy Solution sank 2.04 percent to 529,000 won.

But chip giant SK hynix jumped 2.09 percent to 117,200 won.

POSCO Holdings decreased 0.72 percent to 549,000 won and Samsung SDI retreated 1.81 percent to 597,000 won.

Major chemical firm LG Chem dived 2.07 percent to 569,000 won, and internet giant Naver tumbled 2.52 percent to 212,500 won.

Bio shares ended mixed. Major biotech firm Samsung Biologics inched down 0.13 percent to 771,000 won, while Celltrion spiked 4.74 percent to 150,400 won after it announced a merger with its sales and marketing affiliate Celltrion Healthcare a day earlier.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor grew 0.7 percent to 186,100 won, while its affiliate Kia closed unchanged at 78,400 won.

The local currency ended at 1,338.3 won against the US dollar, up 3.7 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)