Seoul Stock Market Rises on Battery Sector Gains Amid Positive U.S. Economic Report

SEOUL - Seoul's stock market ended on a higher note Friday, buoyed by gains in the battery sector following a report indicating a resilient U.S. economy. However, the Korean won experienced a decline against the U.S. dollar.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the benchmark index rose by 0.33 percent or 8.22 points, closing at 2,478.56. This increase marks a 0.2 percent rise for the KOSPI over the week. Trading volume was relatively low, with 285.54 million shares traded, amounting to a value of 7 trillion won (approximately US$5.2 billion). Stocks that saw gains outnumbered the decliners, with 549 stocks ending higher compared to 312 that closed lower.

Institutional and foreign investors were net buyers, purchasing a combined 380 billion won worth of stocks. This buying spree offset the selling by individual investors, who sold stocks valued at 387 billion won.

The positive trend in Seoul followed gains on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 0.6 percent to 38,049.13, and the Nasdaq increased by 0.2 percent to 15,510.50. These increases came after the U.S. reported its gross domestic product for the fourth quarter of the last year, suggesting a stronger-than-expected U.S. economy.

Battery stocks led the gains in Seoul, with major players like LG Energy Solution Ltd. jumping 3.4 percent to 381,000 won, LG Chem Ltd. climbing 3 percent to 416,500 won, and Samsung SDI Co. rising 3.7 percent to 360,500 won. LG Energy Solution Ltd. reported a more than doubling of its net profit in 2023, reaching 1.64 trillion won, up from 779.8 billion won a year earlier.

On the other hand, some leading stocks experienced declines. Samsung Electronics Co. fell by 0.9 percent to 73,400 won, SK hynix Inc. decreased by 1 percent to 136,500 won, and Hyundai Motor Co. dropped by 0.7 percent to 187,300 won.

In the currency market, the Korean won closed at 1,336.30 won against the U.S. dollar, down by 0.5 won from the previous session's close. Bond prices, inversely related to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell by 5 basis points to 3.263 percent, and the yield on five-year government bonds declined by 4.7 basis points to 3.314 percent.

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