Seoul stocks end higher after Fed decision

SEOUL– Seoul shares closed higher Thursday, tracking gains on Wall Street, after the Federal Reserve delivered a small rate hike while acknowledging progress in its battle against inflation. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 19.08 points, or 0.78 percent, to close at 2,468.88 points.

Trading volume was moderate at 682.5 million shares worth some 9 trillion won (US$7.4 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 604 to 264.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.02 percent higher at 34,092.96 points, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite advanced 2 percent to 11,816.32.

The Fed raised the benchmark lending rate by 25 basis points Wednesday (U.S. time) as expected, and its Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. central bank needs “substantially more evidence” to be confident that inflation is on a downward path.

“Local stocks got a boost as the Fed said the U.S. economy is moving toward lower inflation though it plans additional rate hikes,” You Myeong-gan, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities Co., said.

Foreigners bought a net 554.89 billion won worth of stocks, offsetting institutions and individuals’ stock selling valued at 632 billion won.

In Seoul, tech and auto stocks led gains.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. jumped 2.8 percent to 63,500 won, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. climbed 2.2 percent to 93,400 won, No. 2 carmaker Kia Corp. gained 0.3 percent to 69,700 won, and leading car battery maker LG Energy Solution was up 2 percent to 533,000 won.

Among decliners, national flag carrier Korean Air Co. fell 1.4 percent to 24,000 won, the country’s sole aircraft manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries Co. declined 0.5 percent to 48,250 won, and state utility Korea Electric Power Corp. shed 0.9 percent to 19,490 won.

The local currency closed at 1,220.30 won against the U.S. dollar, up 11 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 8 basis points to 3.183 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond shed 6.9 basis points to 3.174 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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