Seoul shares hit 2-month low on ex-dividend date, tech slump

SEOUL– Seoul stocks slumped to the lowest level in two months on Wednesday on the ex-dividend date and losses in tech and battery shares. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 52.34 points, or 2.24 percent, to close at 2,280.45 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 396.9 million shares worth some 7.5 trillion won (US$5.9 billion), with the last trading session of 2022 slated for Thursday.

Losers outnumbered gainers 643 to 244.

Foreigners and institutions went in sell mode, offloading a net 1.13 trillion won worth of shares, while retail investors scooped up a net 1.08 trillion won.

“The KOSPI closed lower on the ex-dividend date and overnight falls on Wall Street,” Seo Sang-yong from Mirae Asset Securities said.

“Investor sentiment was dampened on concerns that demand for secondary batteries could contract as well, after shares of electric car makers such as Tesla sharply dropped,” Seo added.

In Seoul, tech and battery shares were lead decliners.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics slid 2.58 percent to 56,600 won, and No.2 chipmaker SK hynix declined 1.3 percent to 76,000 won.

Battery shares suffered deep losses. Industry leader LG Energy Solution dipped 4.49 percent to 436,500 won, while Samsung SDI retreated 3.37 percent to 603,000 won.

In contrast, energy shares gathered ground on news the government could raise electricity rates next year.

State-run Korea Electric Power Corp. added 4.42 percent to 22,450 won, and Doosan Enerbility, a nuclear plant components maker of Doosan Group, jumped 5.72 percent to 15,700 won.

The local currency closed at 1,267 won against the U.S. dollar, up 4.4 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 0.6 basis point to 3.668 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond advanced 3 basis points to 3.676 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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