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Seoul shares rebound amid slowdown woes

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

South Korean stocks rebounded Tuesday from a fresh 19-month low the previous session on bargain hunting amid lingering concerns over high inflation and a global economic slowdown. The local currency fell against the US dollar.

After a choppy session, the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 17.90 points, or 0.75 percent, to close at 2,408.93. The gain came after the index tumbled 2.04 percent to the lowest level since November 2020.

Trading volume was a bit slim at 468.76 million shares worth 7.29 trillion won ($5.64 billion), with gainers outpacing decliners 689 to 187.

Institutions bought a net 543.32 billion won worth of shares, while foreign investors and individuals sold a net 318.7 billion won and 231.56 billion won worth of shares, respectively.

"Shares gathered ground on the back of their attractive valuations following a recent rout," Han Ji-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities Co., said.

"But it will take time for the index to make any meaningful upturn, as concerns continue over the US Federal Reserve's aggressive monetary tightening to curb inflation at the risk of causing an economic slowdown," the analyst added.

Earlier in the day, Bank of Korea Gov. Rhee Chang-yong voiced concerns over risks for a further buildup in inflation and hinted at more aggressive monetary steps in the coming months.

Last week, the US central bank raised the key rate by 0.75 percentage point, the biggest increase since 1994.

In Seoul on Tuesday, top-cap shares ended mixed.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 0.34 percent to a fresh yearly low of 58,500 won, while No. 2 chipmaker LG hynix added 0.74 percent to 95,200 won.

Major battery maker LG Energy Solution increased 0.36 percent to 413,000 won, while chemical giant LG Chem shed 0.7 percent to 558,000 won.

Carmakers gathered ground, with top player Hyundai Motor advancing 1.17 percent to 172,500 won and its smaller affiliate Kia surging 2.38 percent to 77,300 won.

Internet portal giant Naver grew 2.35 percent to 239,500 won, and Kakao climbed 1.29 percent to 70,500 won.

Major bio shares ended mixed. Samsung Biologics inched down 0.12 percent to 821,000 won, while Celltrion went up 0.98 percent to 154,000 won.

The local currency ended at 1,293.6 won against the US dollar, down 1.2 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)

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