Seoul shares soar over 1 pct on tech gains

SEOUL– Seoul stocks closed over 1 percent higher Monday on the back of gains in tech shares amid hopes that the U.S. Federal Reserve may decelerate its pace of rate hikes. The local currency fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 25.21 points, or 1.11 percent, to 2,293.61.

Trading volume was moderate at 395.3 billion shares worth 8.6 trillion won (US$6.03 billion) with winners outnumbering losers 526 to 320.

After opening higher, the KOSPI extended gains as investors snatched up semiconductors and other tech stocks.

Foreigners scooped up a net 230.3 billion won of shares, while institutional and retail investors dumped a combined 233.29 billion won worth of equities.

“It’s hard to say that Monday’s gains are meaningful, as gains were limited to IT and semiconductor shares,” analyst Lee Kyoung-min from Daeshin Securities said.

Investors are keeping an eye on the Fed’s policy meeting with hopes it would slow down the pace of rate hikes this week.

In Seoul, most large cap shares ended higher buoyed by an advance in IT, chips and electronics.

Tech heavyweight Samsung Electronics surged 3.66 percent to 59,400 won, while rival chip maker SK hynix slid 0.84 percent to 82,700 won.

IT shares gathered ground. Portal site operator Naver climbed 5.94 percent to 169,500 won, and messenger app operator Kakao added 4 percent to a closing price of 50,700 won.

Battery shares closed lower. Battery maker LG Energy Solutions dipped 0.75 percent to 528,000 won, while battery materials maker POSCO Chemical lost 0.25 percent to 199,500 won.

The local currency ended at 1,424.3 won against the U.S. dollar, down 2.8 won from Friday’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 7.3 basis points to 4.185 percent while the return on benchmark five-year government bonds were up 7.1 basis points to 4.263 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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