Seoul shares down for 4th day amid U.S. rate hike woes

SEOUL– Seoul shares extended their losing streak to a fourth day Wednesday amid concerns the Federal Reserve may keep its aggressive monetary tightening following solid U.S. economic data. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) retreated 10.35 points, or 0.43 percent, to 2,382.81. Trading volume was moderate at 323.9 million shares worth 5.9 trillion won (US$4.5 billion), with decliners outnumbering gainers 540 to 311.

Institutions and foreigners sold a combined 217 billion won worth of stocks, exceeding individuals’ stock purchases valued at 201 billion won.

A stronger-than-expected jobs report and service industry activity bolstered the case for the Fed to keep policy tightening to tame runaway inflation, analysts said.

“Such rate hike worries and a strong won resulted in foreign and institutional selling for a fourth straight session through Wednesday,” Hana Securities Co.’s analyst Lim Seung-mi said.

In Seoul, large-cap stocks closed mixed.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. fell 0.5 percent to 58,900 won, top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. declined 0.9 percent to 163,000 won, and leading refiner SK Innovation Co. shed 3.5 percent to 164,500 won.

Among gainers, national flag carrier Korean Air Co. rose 3.6 percent to 26,050 won, state utility Korea Electric Power Corp. climbed 0.8 percent to 19,800 won, and leading car battery maker LG Energy Solution was up 0.7 percent to 563,000 won.

The local currency ended at 1,321.70 won against the greenback, down 2.90 won from the previous day’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 3.9 basis points to 3.672 percent but the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds climbed 2.3 basis points to 3.620 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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