Seoul shares close more than 1 pct higher on tech gains

Seoul stocks closed more than 1 percent higher Wednesday on tech gains, as investors were hopeful that the U.S. Federal Reserve could ease the pace of rate increases. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) climbed 33.31 points, or 1.39 percent, to 2.428.57.

Trading volume was moderate at 539.8 million shares worth 6.57 trillion won (US$5.4 billion), with gainers outnumbering decliners 526 to 325.

Institutional and foreign investors were net buyers at a combined 793.8 billion won. Retail investors offloaded a net 792.8 billion won.

“Shares of semiconductors and secondary batteries led gains on institutional and foreign buying,” said analyst Seo Sang-yong of Mirae Asset Securities.

“Investors’ appetite for risky assets recovered following advances on Wall Street during the Lunar New Year holiday and on hopes the Fed could decelerate the pace of rate hikes,” Seo said.

In Seoul, most market heavyweights closed higher.

Top cap Samsung Electronics added 2.59 percent to 63,400 won and major chipmaker SK hynix jumped 4.34 percent to 91,400 won.

Battery makers and IT shares gathered ground. Battery maker LG Energy Solution advanced 3.09 percent to 484,000 won, Samsung SDI sharply rose by 4.85 percent to 649,000 won and portal operator Naver closed 3.06 percent higher from the previous session to 202,000 won.

Among decliners, bio firm Samsung Biologics slid 0.25 percent to 798,000 won and POSCO Holdings declined 1.78 percent to 303,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,231.7 won against the dollar, up 3.8 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys declined 4.5 basis points to 3.285 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds fell 5.4 basis points to 3.241 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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