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Seoul shares dip over 2% on profit taking ahead of Fed minutes

By Yonhap

Published : Jan. 3, 2024 - 16:08

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

South Korean stocks dropped by more than 2 percent Wednesday as investors sought to cash in recent gains ahead of the release of the Federal Reserve's latest minutes. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index lost 62.50 points, or 2.34 percent, to close at 2,607.31, ending its four-day winning streak.

Trade volume was moderate at 455.9 million shares worth 9.99 trillion won ($7.65 billion), with losers outpacing winners 610 to 279.

Foreigners and institutions sold shares worth 93.4 billion won and 1.2 trillion won, respectively, offsetting individuals' stock purchases valued at 1.3 trillion won.

Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 0.07 percent to 37,715.04, but the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 1.6 percent to 14,765.94.

The Fed minutes are set to be released Wednesday, with investors expecting the US bank to cut interest rates this year.

"The US stock market saw tech shares, such as semiconductors, slide on adjustment on the Fed's rate cut bets and heightened caution ahead of the release of employment data, and this also weighed down on the domestic market," Park Kwang-nam, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities, said.

In Seoul, most of the large-cap stocks ended in negative terrain.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. fell 3.27 percent to 77,000 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. declined 3.93 percent to 136,800 won.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution shed 3.14 percent to 416,000 won and its smaller rival Samsung SDI plunged 4.39 percent to 446,500 won. Posco Future M also shot down 5.68 percent to 332,000 won.

Steel giant Posco Holdings pulled back 3.18 percent to 472,500 won, and leading chemical producer LG Chem dropped 2.63 percent to 480,500 won.

Auto shares also went south.

Top carmaker Hyundai Motor went down 3.34 percent to 193,800 won and its smaller affiliate Kia lost 3.89 percent to 93,800 won.

The local currency ended at 1,304.80 won against the greenback, down 4.40 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)