Seoul Stock Market Closes Lower Ahead of Corporate Earnings Reports

SEOUL – South Korean stocks ended Wednesday's session lower, with the market bracing for the upcoming release of earnings reports from major corporations. Concurrently, the Korean won weakened against the U.S. dollar.

According to Yonhap News Agency, The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) dropped by 8.92 points, or 0.36 percent, closing at 2,469.69. Trading volume was relatively modest, with 381.6 million shares traded, amounting to 7.17 trillion won (US$5.36 billion). The session ended with 608 stocks declining and 271 advancing.

This downturn in the Seoul stock market is attributed to investors taking profits from recent gains, amid a cautious outlook for corporate earnings from leading companies. Foreign investors sold shares worth 24.1 billion won, while retail investors purchased a net total of 103.8 billion won. Institutional investors sold a net 81.4 billion won.

Major firms experienced varied outcomes. Samsung Electronics, a top tech company, saw its shares fall by 1.6 percent to 74,000 won. In contrast, SK hynix, another tech giant, slightly increased by 0.5 percent to 141,500 won. Hyundai Engineering and Construction experienced a decrease of 2.03 percent to 31,400 won, following lower-than-expected earnings for the fourth quarter.

The chemical sector, however, witnessed a rise, with LG Chem advancing 2.43 percent to 400,500 won and oil refiner SK Innovation increasing by 2.09 percent to 112,100 won. Meanwhile, Amorepacific, a beauty and cosmetics firm, experienced a slight decrease of 0.29 percent to 138,500 won.

Entertainment-related stocks, however, saw gains, influenced by the strong performance of U.S. industry giants like Netflix. Han Ji-young, an analyst from Kiwoom Securities, noted a positive trend in shares associated with over-the-top media service firms. Contentree Joongang, an entertainment company, climbed 2.36 percent to 13,010 won, and Hybe, another industry player, gained 1.37 percent to 222,000 won.

In the currency market, the Korean won closed at 1,333.7 won against the U.S. dollar, marking a decrease of 3.6 won from the previous session's close.

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