Seoul shares snap 2-day losing streak amid eased inflation woes

SEOUL-- South Korean stocks rebounded Wednesday after two consecutive sessions of losses as investors bet that inflation in the United States may have peaked and China partly eased its COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) jumped 49.73 points, or 1.86 percent, to close at 2,716.49 points.

Trading volume was moderate at around 719.40 million shares worth some 9.52 trillion won (US$7.75 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 714 to 164.

Foreigners and retail investors offloaded a combined net total of 64.8 billion won, while institutional investors picked up shares a net worth 641.5 billion won.

Consumer prices in the United States spiked 8.5 percent in March from a year earlier, the biggest jump since December 1981.

Investors had girded themselves for the Federal Reserve's aggressive monetary tightening to tame runaway inflation, but they expect the inflationary pressure to ease down the road.

Overnight, the U.S. stock markets closed lower.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 0.26 percent, and the S&P500 slipped 0.3 percent. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note slightly fell to 2.72 percent, still around the highest since early 2019.

China also lifted some of its virus restrictions in Shanghai, partly easing woes over the global supply disruptions.

"The possibility of U.S. inflation reaching its peak seemed to have boosted investor sentiment," Park Sang-hyun from Hi Investment & Securities said. "Heightened expectations about economic recovery also had positive effects on the market as jitters about China's COVID-19 situation have calmed down

On the Seoul bourse, shares rose across the board.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 2.54 percent to 68,700 won, and key battery maker LG Energy Solution jumped 4.87 percent to 431,000 won.

Major chipmaker SK hynix inched up 1.8 percent to 113,000 won, and LG Chem added 2.57 percent to 518,000 won.

Kakao Pay, the fintech arm of internet giant Kakao, gained 1.13 percent to 134,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,228.00 won against the U.S. dollar, up 8.2 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 10.4 basis points to 3.001 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond shed 7.4 basis points to 3.196 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency