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Seoul shares end 3-day winning streak on rate hike woes

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

South Korean stocks closed lower Friday, ending a three-day winning streak amid lingering concerns over the Federal Reserve's aggressive monetary tightening and a global economic recession.

After volatile trading, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 5.02 points, or 0.22 percent, to end at 2,232.84.

Trading volume was a bit slim at 402.26 million shares worth 6.96 trillion won (US$4.75 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 487 to 370.

Institutional investors sold a net 153.8 billion won worth of shares, while foreign and retail investors bought shares worth 100.4 billion won and 45.5 billion won, respectively.

The market opened lower, tracking Wall Street losses, as investors await a jobs report for September due Friday (US time), which would affect whether the Fed may pause on raising interest rates at a fast pace amid signs the economy is weakening.

But some of the earlier losses were recovered as tech shares rebounded on hopes for a recovery in the semiconductor cycle.

"The index came under downward pressure as Fed officials rejected the possibility of a pivot away from aggressive rate hikes while prioritizing tackling inflation," Mirae Asset Securities analyst Park Gwang-nam said.

"Investors' wait-and-see posture is expected to continue, which would cause market volatility for some time being," he added.

Top-cap shares finished mixed, with tech shares rising to limit the fall of the overall market index.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics inched down 0.18 percent to 56,200 won, as it reported about a 32 percent on-year decline in its preliminary third-quarter operating profit.

But chip giant SK hynix jumped 1.45 percent to 91,200 won.

Battery maker LG Energy Solutions rose 0.94 percent to 482,500 won, and Samsung SDI advanced 1.03 percent to 591,000 won. Major chemical firm LG Chem climbed 1.03 percent to 589,000 won.

LG Electronics added 1.36 percent to 81,700 won, as it reported a 25 percent on-year rise of its preliminary third-quarter operating profit.

But carmakers lost ground. Top automaker Hyundai Motor lost 1.4 percent to 175,500 won, and its affiliate Kia went down 0.7 percent to 71,000 won.

Internet giant Naver sank 4.19 percent to 160,000 won following deep losses recently, after some investors questioned the timing and profitability of its recent 2.3 trillion-won deal to buy Poshmark Inc., a US secondhand fashion platform.

Kakao, the operator of the popular mobile messenger Kakao Talk, tumbled 7.12 percent to 50,900 won.

The local currency ended at 1,412.40 won against the US dollar, down 10.00 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)

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