The Korea Herald


Seoul shares dip over 1% on profit hunting, caution over Fed's rate cuts

By Yonhap

Published : May 17, 2024 - 16:02

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An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Friday. (Yonhap) An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Friday. (Yonhap)

South Korean stocks slumped more than 1 percent Friday as investors locked in profits from a recent rally caused by hope for a rate cut by the Federal Reserve. The local currency fell against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index fell 28.38 points, or 1.03 percent, to 2,724.62, snapping a two-session winning streak. It rose 0.83 percent on the previous day.

Trade volume was moderate at 561.1 million shares worth 10.3 trillion won ($7.6 billion), with losers beating winners 574 to 305.

Foreign investors and institutions dumped a net 597.5 billion won and 149.3 billion won worth of local shares, respectively, while individuals purchased a net 720.3 billion won.

On Wall Street, major stock indices closed lower Thursday (local time) after touching record highs the previous day on government data showing a moderation in consumer prices.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.1 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.26 percent.

"The drop in US stocks weighed heavily on foreign investors here," Lee Jae-won, an analyst from Shinhan Securities, said.

Investors are still worried over a delay by the Fed despite moderating inflation, market watchers said.

In Seoul, most shares finished lower across the board.

Tech giant Samsung Electronics sank 1.02 percent to 77,400 won and its chipmaking rival SK hynix dropped 1.61 percent to 189,900 won.

Top carmaker Hyundai Motor retreated 1.21 percent to 244,000 won, and its sister Kia went down 1.74 percent to 112,700 won.

Bank shares also went south as Shinhan Financial Group skidded 0.93 percent to 47,700 won and Hana Financial Group fell 0.79 percent to 63,100 won.

Leading online portal operator Naver lost 0.64 percent to 187,300 won, and its rival Kakao decreased 0.75 percent to 46,450 won.

But CJ Cheiljedang, an F&B unit under CJ Group, gained 1.37 percent to 333,500 won and Dongwon F&B jumped 6.33 percent to 39,500 won on their larger-than-expected first-quarter earnings due to strong demand for Korean foodstuffs.

The local currency ended at 1,354.9 won against the US dollar, down 9.9 won from the previous session's close of 1,345 won, which was the highest since March 28.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 0.4 basis point to 3.379 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds rose 0.5 basis point to 3.413 percent. (Yonhap)