Seoul shares up for 4th day on Fed chair’s comment

SEOUL– South Korean stocks extended their winning streak to a fourth straight session Thursday, as U.S. Federal Reserve chairman signaled a rate hike within market expectations amid soaring global commodity prices. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 43.56 points, or 1.61 percent, to close at 2,747.08 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 607 million shares worth some 10.5 trillion won (US$8.7 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 696 to 183.

Institutions bought a net 261 billion won and foreigners purchased 133 billion won, while retail investors offloaded 393 billion won.

Stocks opened higher on the overnight Wall Street stock rallies, after Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday said rates would likely be hiked by only 25 basis points this month, although he warned of more aggressive rate hikes if inflation continues to build up.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite added 1.62 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 1.79 percent.

“The (U.S.) tapering uncertainties had been pressuring the stocks so far, but (the Fed chair’s latest comment) seems to have given investors an impression that the Fed’s policy tightening may not be so hawkish as previously expected,” said Cape Investment & Securities analyst Na Jeong-hwan.

In Seoul, market behemoth Samsung Electronics advanced 1.67 percent to 72,900 won, with No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix gaining 3.2 percent to 129,000 won.

Internet portal operator Naver moved up 2.68 percent to 325,500 won, and top carmaker Hyundai Motor jumped 4.11 percent to 177,500 won. Bio heavyweight Samsung Biologics increased 2.47 percent to 787,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,204.6 won against the U.S. dollar, up 1.5 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 0.8 basis point to 2.195 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond rose 3.5 basis points to 2.441 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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