Seoul shares down for 3rd day amid U.S. rate hike worries

SEOUL– Seoul shares closed lower to extend their losing streak to a third day on Tuesday as investors remain concerned that the Federal Reserve may continue its aggressive monetary tightening following unexpectedly strong U.S. services data. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) retreated 26.16 points, or 1.08 percent, to 2,393.16. Trading volume was moderate at 359.75 million shares worth 6.3 trillion won (US$4.8 billion), with decliners outnumbering gainers 753 to 140.

Institutions and foreigners sold a combined 401 billion won worth of stocks, offsetting individuals’ stock purchases valued at 380 billion won.

Upbeat service industry activity bolstered the case for the Fed to keep policy tightening to tame runaway inflation. Such rate worries and the dollar’s strength weighed on investor sentiment, analysts said.

Investors now await the U.S. producer price report Friday (local time) as it will be some of the major economic data Fed officials see before the Dec. 13-14 policy meeting, they said.

In Seoul, large-cap stocks were mixed across the board.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. fell 1.8 percent to 59,200 won, top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. declined 0.6 percent to 164,500 won, national flag carrier Korean Air Co. dropped 2 percent to 25,150 won, leading refiner SK Innovation Co. shed 0.6 percent to 170,500 won.

Among gainers, leading home appliance maker LG Electronics Inc. rose 0.4 percent to 97,200 won, the country’s sole aircraft manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries Co. climbed 0.3 percent to 46,850 won, and leading budget carrier Jin Air Co. was up 1.7 percent to 15,000 won.

The South Korean won ended at 1,318.80 won against the U.S. dollar, down 26.20 won from the previous day’s close.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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