Seoul stocks dip over 1 pct amid inflation worries

SEOUL– South Korean stocks retreated more than 1 percent Wednesday, as strong U.S. economic data raised concerns about an earlier than expected rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve amid rising inflation. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 34.79 points, or 1.16 percent, to close at 2,962.42 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 533 million shares worth some 10.5 trillion won (US$8.9 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 730 to 157.

Foreigners bought a net 77 billion won and individuals purchased 769 billion won, while institutions sold a net 886 billion won.
U.S. retail sales in October logged the biggest gain since March, driving up the U.S. Treasury yields and strengthening the dollar against other currencies.

“The estimate-beating U.S. retail sales seem to be adding to the possibilities of a stronger tapering (of the U.S. Fed’s stimulus),” said Bookook Securities analyst Lee Won.

In Seoul, market bellwether Samsung Electronics decreased 0.84 percent to 70,700 won, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix declined 1.34 percent to 110,500 won, and pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics retreated 2.52 percent to 850,000 won.

Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest carmaker, climbed 0.24 percent to 207,000 won, while its smaller affiliate Kia moved down 0.24 percent to 84,000 won.

Gaming heavyweight Krafton jumped 3.66 percent to 567,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,182.5 won against the U.S. dollar, down 2.6 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 1.1 basis points to 1.974 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 1.9 basis points to 2.159 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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