Seoul shares bounce back on solid earnings; Korean won extends fall

SEOUL-- South Korean stocks rebounded Thursday, as solid corporate earnings offset worries about the Fed's aggressive monetary tightening and economic uncertainties stemming from China's lockdowns and an energy crisis sparked by Russia. The Korean won extended losses against the U.S. dollar.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 28.43 points to close the session at 2,667.49. Trading volume was moderate at 885.1 billion shares worth 12.3 trillion won (US$9.66 billion) with gainers outstripping decliners 491 to 366.

Uncertainties persist over supply chains due to China's lengthy COVID-19 lockdowns of its cities and Russia's halt of gas exports to parts of Europe, but sound corporate earnings offset such concerns, Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities Co., said.

"The overnight U.S. rally fueled by tech firms' sound earnings was also favorable to the Korean market. But for further advance, the weaker won needs to be stabilized," Seo said.

Despite a stellar quarterly performance, market heavyweight Samsung Electronics fell 0.31 percent to 64,800 won. Top battery maker LG Energy Solution also slid 0.12 percent to 417,500 won.

Other top-listed firms were bullish across the board, with LG Chem spiking 8.42 percent to 502,000 won and POSCO Holdings soaring 4.32 percent to 290,000 won. Cosmetics firm Amorepacific jumped 9.2 percent to 178,000 won.

Tech firms and telecom companies closed in negative territory. LG Display sank 5.75 percent to 16,400 won and top mobile carrier SK Telecom fell 0.18 percent to 56,700 won.

The local currency ended at 1,272.50 won against the U.S. dollar, down 7.3 won from Wednesday's close, the lowest point in over two years.

The won's sharp fall prompted a verbal intervention by the finance minister that the government will take measures, if needed, to curb its excessive depreciation.

Expectations for the U.S. Federal Reserve's aggressive monetary tightening, the fallout of China's COVID-19 lockdowns and the Ukraine war have fueled demand for the dollar.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 2.6 basis points to 2.925 percent, and the return on the five-year government bonds gained 1.3 basis points to 3.135 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency