The Korea Herald


Seoul shares up for 3rd day on China stimulus, fed hope

By Yonhap

Published : July 25, 2023 - 17:43

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

South Korean stocks ended higher Tuesday, led by steel and chemical companies, as investor sentiment was boosted by China's economic stimulus plan and hopes for an end to the United States' aggressive monetary tightening. The local currency advanced against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index added 7.93 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 2,636.46, the third consecutive rise. Trading volume was a bit heavy at 713.46 million shares worth 18.85 trillion won ($14.77 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 652 to 239.

The index opened higher, tracking overnight Wall Street gains, and moved within a tight range before ending with modest gains.

Individual investors picked up a net 1.37 trillion won worth of shares, while foreign and institutional investors shed a net 1.35 trillion won and 69.76 billion won worth of shares, respectively.

"Investors are assessing various factors as US shares traded higher in recent sessions amid caution over the Federal Reserve's policy direction," said Han Ji-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities Co.

The Federal Reserve is scheduled to hold a two-day rate-setting meeting starting Tuesday (local time), where the US central bank is largely expected to raise the key rate by 0.25 percentage point. Investors harbor hopes that this might be the final hike of the Fed's monetary tightening cycle.

Investors also welcomed the news that China promised to shore up its sagging economy by supporting real estate sales and other sectors.

In Seoul, big-cap shares traded mixed, though steel and chemical companies led the upturn of the index.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 0.57 percent to 70,000 won, and chip giant SK hynix skidded 0.53 percent to 113,400 won. The two chip giants are set to release their earnings results later this week.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution dropped 0.5 percent to 594,000 won, and Samsung SDI ended flat at 712,000 won.

But LG Chem grew 1.68 percent to 725,000 won.

Posco Holdings surged 2.49 percent to 658,000 won and Posco Future M soared 10.33 percent to 598,000 won after the previous session's sharp gains on upbeat quarterly results.

Following recent rallies, Posco Holdings took the fourth spot in terms of market capitalization on the main bourse, compared with the 12th spot earlier this year. Posco Future M came at eighth.

Carmakers also gained ground on bargain hunting. Top automaker Hyundai Motor rose 0.65 percent to 200,500 won, and its affiliate Kia went up 1.32 percent to 84,600 won.

Among decliners, major bio firm Samsung Biologics decreased 0.94 percent to 735,000 won, and internet giant Naver retreated 0.99 percent to 201,000 won. Kakao, the operator of the popular mobile messenger KakaoTalk, lost 2.01 percent to 48,850 won.

The local currency ended at 1,275.4 won against the US dollar, up 4.5 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 2.8 basis points to 3.645 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 3.6 basis points to 3.643 percent. (Yonhap)