Seoul shares down for 2nd day on big-cap tech losses

SEOUL– South Korean stocks ended lower for a second day Thursday, as big-cap tech shares dived amid concerns over a global economic slowdown. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 34.55 points, or 1.39 percent, to close at 2,442.90, extending its losing streak for a second session.

Trading volume was a bit heavy at about 907.18 million shares worth some 8.47 trillion won (US$7.29 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 643 to 216.

Foreign and institutional investors shed 383.64 billion won and 120.2 billion won worth of shares, respectively, while individuals bought a net 487.1 billion won.

The market opened lower, tracking an overnight fall in U.S. shares, and had extended losses, as U.S. chipmaker Micron Technology Inc. on Wednesday announced a plan to reduce memory chip supply over excess inventories and weak demand.

“The fall of the Philadelphia SE semiconductor index and weak results of U.S. retailer Target fueled concerns over an economic recession. Weak global demand is feared to further hurt South Korea’s exports,” Han Ji-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities Co., said.

U.S. Federal Reserve officials have also stressed that the Fed will not stop its aggressive monetary tightening anytime soon. San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly said Wednesday that pausing is “off the table right now.”

Stock trading hours in South Korea on Thursday were pushed back by an hour to 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. due to the national college entrance exam.
Most big-cap shares lost ground, with chipmakers under heavier downward pressure.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 2.07 percent to 61,400 won, and chip giant SK hynix tumbled 4.15 percent to 87,700 won.

Battery maker LG Energy Solutions lost 0.5 percent to 597,000, and No. 1 chemical firm LG Chem fell 0.99 percent to 700,000 won. Samsung SDI skidded 3.05 percent to 700,000.

Carmakers also went down, with top automaker Hyundai Motor skidding 1.16 percent to 170,000 won and its affiliate Kia sinking 2.21 percent to 66,300 won.

Major bio shares ended mixed, with Samsung Biologics going down 0.57 percent to 875,000 won, while Celltrion remained unchanged at 179,500 won.

But shares of companies linked to new projects in Saudi Arabia rose, after South Korea and the Middle Eastern country signed memorandums of understanding on infrastructure, chemicals, renewable energy, gaming and various other industries during Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit here.

Hyundai Rotem jumped 5.45 percent to 28,050 won, and Lotte Fine Chemical grew 1.44 percent to 63,200 won.

The local currency ended at 1,339.1 won against the U.S. dollar, down 14.1 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 0.4 basis point to 3.804 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond grew 0.1 basis point to 3.867 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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