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Seoul shares down for 3rd day on dampened hopes for Fed's early rate cuts

By Yonhap

Published : Jan. 5, 2024 - 16:11

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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)

Seoul shares ended lower for a third straight day Friday, after robust employment data weighed on expectations for an early rate cut by the Federal Reserve this year. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index fell 8.94 points, or 0.35 percent, to close at 2,578.08. The Kospi has fallen 2.9 percent this week.

Trade volume was moderate at 514.78 million shares worth 8.27 trillion won ($6.28 billion), with losers outpacing winners 515 to 343.

Overnight, US stocks ended mixed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 0.03 percent to 37,440.34, but the tech-heavy Nasdaq declined 0.6 percent to 14,510.30.

Non-official employment data showed US companies hired more in December and jobless claims were lower than expected.

Earlier this week, the Fed's minutes from its December meeting indicated rates could remain at high levels for some time and there will be possible rate cuts later this year.

"The market is undergoing a correction following gains late last year amid high expectations of rate cuts early this year. Investors now await official jobs data due later in the day for any changes in the Fed's future rate plans," Park Hee-cheol, an analyst with Mirae Asset Securities Co., said.

Institutions and foreigners sold a combined 616 billion won worth of stocks, offsetting individuals' stock purchases valued at 598 billion won.

In Seoul, auto and energy stocks led declines.

Top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. fell 1.4 percent to 187,300 won, No. 1 auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis Co. declined 0.5 percent, leading battery maker LG Energy Solution dropped 0.7 percent, and state-run Korea Gas Corp. shed 0.4 percent.

Among gainers, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. rose 0.8 percent, Hanatour Service Inc. jumped 3.7 percent to 54,000 won, Modetour Inc. gained 1.3 percent to 15,670 won, and leading budget carrier Jeju Air Co. jumped 5.5 percent to 12,430 won.

The local currency traded at 1,315.40 won against the greenback, down 5.40 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)