Seoul Stock Market Rises on First Trading Day of 2024, Tech Stocks Lead Gains

SEOUL - Seoul's stock market ended higher on Tuesday, the first trading day of 2024, driven primarily by gains in the technology sector and a growing global appetite for riskier assets. Despite these gains, the Korean won weakened against the U.S. dollar.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) increased by 14.53 points, or 0.55 percent, to close at 2,669.8, marking its fourth consecutive day of gains. Trading volume was recorded at a moderate level with 404.2 million shares traded, valued at 9.5 trillion won (approximately US$7.3 billion). The number of declining stocks slightly outnumbered advancing ones, with 449 decliners to 436 gainers.

Institutional and foreign investors collectively purchased stocks worth 341 billion won, balancing out the 346 billion won in stock sales by individual investors. Analysts noted that foreign purchases, especially in technology stocks, played a significant role in boosting the main index into positive territory.

The surge in the Korean stock market was attributed to an increased interest in emerging market stocks and speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve might cut interest rates within the year. Sectors leading the gains in Seoul included technology, airlines, and shipbuilding stocks.

Key market players like Samsung Electronics Co. and SK hynix Inc., two of the leading technology firms, saw their shares rise by 1.4 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively. LG Display Co. experienced a notable increase of 4.8 percent. Additionally, Hanjin KAL Corp., the parent company of Korean Air Co., and Samsung Heavy Industries Co. also reported gains.

Conversely, some of the market's top performers faced declines. Hyundai Motor Co. saw its stock fall by 1.5 percent, while its affiliate Kia Corp. dropped by 2.4 percent. State utility Korea Electric Power Corp. and cosmetics firm AmorePacific Corp. also recorded decreases in their stock prices.

In the currency market, the Korean won closed at 1,300.40 won against the U.S. dollar, marking a decrease of 12.4 won from the previous session's close. In the bond market, prices fell, with yields on three-year Treasurys rising 8.6 basis points to 3.240 percent, and yields on the benchmark five-year government bonds climbing 11 basis points to 3.266 percent.

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