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Seoul shares close lower ahead of US employment data

By Yonhap

Published : May 3, 2024 - 16:16

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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 shares closed slightly lower Friday as investors took to the side ahead of US employment data. The local currency rebounded against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index shed 7.02 points, or 0.26 percent, to close at 2,676.63.

Trading volume was slim at 329.8 million shares worth 7.7 trillion won ($5.65 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 477 to 390.

The index had opened higher, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street that followed dovish remarks from US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell suggesting a possible rate cut down the road.

After choppy trading, the Kospi closed lower for a second consecutive session.

"Recent advance data on the US job market indicated a slowdown in the job market in the second quarter," SK Securities analyst Yoon Won-tae said. "The US Fed and the market's focus will shift to employment from inflation should the employment data to be released tonight fall short of market expectations."

"The key point is whether the employment data can send a signal that will expand hope for a rate cut," Yoon added.

Foreign investors net purchased 88.8 billion won worth of local shares, extending their buying spree to a fifth consecutive session. Retail investors and institutions dumped 116.2 billion won and 8.1 billion won, respectively.

Large caps closed mixed.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 0.51 percent to 77,600 won, while its chipmaking rival SK hynix retreated 0.23 percent to 173,200 won.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution gained 0.51 percent to 391,000 won, with its local rival Samsung SDS advancing 0.25 percent to 158,800 won.

Top automakers Hyundai Motor dipped 3.21 percent to 241,000 won, with its smaller affiliate Kia Motors plunging 4.77 percent to 113,900 won.

Financial shares were among the lead gainers, with KB Financial surging 1.94 percent to 73,700 won and Shinhan Financial up 1.42 percent to 46,450 won.

The local currency closed at 1,362.80 won against the greenback, up 13.10 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)