Seoul stocks close at 2-month low on China woes, Wall Street tech decline

SEOUL– Seoul stocks closed at a two-month low Thursday, the last trading day of the year, amid concerns that China’s reopening could lead to a global economic slowdown. The Korean won advanced for a fourth consecutive session against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 44.05 points, or 1.93 percent, to close at 2,236.4 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 353.2 million shares worth some 5.9 trillion won (US$4.7 billion). Losers outnumbered gainers 791 to 112.

Foreigners and institutions were net sellers, offloading a combined 717.4 billion won worth of equities, while retail investors snapped up a net 671.7 billion won.

“China’s recent moves to reopen came as a ‘boomerang’ to the market and dampened investor sentiment,” analyst Lee Kyoung-min from Daishin Securities said.

“The continued decline in tech shares, like Apple Inc., in the U.S. stock market was another factor that dragged down the KOSPI.”

In Seoul, most large-caps closed lower.

Market top-cap Samsung Electronics dipped 2.3 percent to 55,300 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix slid 1.32 percent to 75,000 won.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor was down 1.95 percent to 151,000 won, bio firm Samsung Biologics retreated 1.08 percent to 821,000 won, and battery maker LG Energy Solution inched down 0.23 percent to 435,000 won.

Game stocks gathered ground on the news that Chinese regulators gave the green light to Korean game developers to run their services in the country. China had allowed imports of only a few Korean-made games since March 2017.

Game publisher NC Soft advanced 3.34 percent to 448,000 won, and Net Marble jumped 17.74 percent to 60,400 won.

The local currency closed at 1,264.5 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2.5 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 5.1 basis points to 3.719 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond increased 6.9 basis points to 3.745 percent.

Thursday was the last trading session of 2022. The market is closed Friday for the year-end holidays and reopens on Monday.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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