Seoul shares end higher on institutional buying

SEOUL-- South Korean stocks ended higher Tuesday on institutional buying, with investors eyeing the Ukraine war, surging energy prices, and inflationary risks. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 23.95 points, or 0.9 percent, to close at 2,710 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 468.54 million shares worth some 8.4 trillion won (US$6.9 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 578 to 257.

Institutional investors bought a net 284 billion won worth of stocks, offsetting foreign and retail stock selling valued at 298 billion won.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Monday (local time) the U.S. central bank would raise its benchmark short-term interest rate faster than expected if that is needed to contain rampaging inflation.

U.S. stocks declined after Powell's remarks, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average finishing down 0.6 percent. Oil prices continued to rise following Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Tech, auto and heavy industry stocks led gains.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. rose 0.6 percent to 70,300 won, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. climbed 1.2 percent to 123,500 won, top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. gained 3 percent to 173,500 won, and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. jumped 5.4 percent to 25,450 won.

Among decliners, Hanjin KAL Corp., the parent firm of national flag carrier Korean Air Lines Co., fell 0.8 percent to 60,200 won, leading budget carrier Jeju Air Co. declined 1.6 percent to 20,950 won, and leading shipping firm HMM was down 4.5 percent to 31,150 won.

The local currency closed at 1,218.10 won against the U.S. dollar, down 1.80 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 13 basis points to 2.399 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond climbed 10.1 basis points to 2.631 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency