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Seoul shares down for 4th day ahead of key US economic data releases

By Yonhap

Published : Jan. 8, 2024 - 16:16

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

Seoul shares ended lower for a fourth straight day Monday as investors sat on the sidelines ahead of the release of major US economic data, which will give clues on the Federal Reserve's monetary policy direction. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index lost 10.26 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 2,567.82.

Trade volume was slim at 313.6 million shares worth 6.7 trillion won ($5.1 billion), with losers outpacing winners 500 to 358.

Institutions unloaded 436 billion won worth of stocks, offsetting individual and foreign investors' stock purchases valued at a combined 424.7 billion won.

On Friday, the S&P 500 rose 0.2 percent, and Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq composite added 0.1 percent, respectively.

Investors' eyes are on key US economic data to be released later this week, including the December consumer price index and the producer price index.

The Bank of Korea is also set to hold a rate-setting meeting Thursday to decide on whether to keep its rate steady for the eighth time.

Last 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, dampening hopes for early rate cuts.

In Seoul, big-cap tech and auto stocks dragged the Kospi down.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics dipped 0.13 percent to 76,500 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix dropped 1.09 percent to 136,000 won.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution lost 0.24 percent to 415,000 won, and its smaller rival Samsung SDI retreated more than 2 percent to 436,000 won.

Steel giant Posco Holding also shed 2.19 percent to 469,500 won, and its battery component making affiliate Posco Future M slid 3.64 percent to 330,500 won.

Auto shares also went south, with Hyundai Motor down 0.85 percent to 185,700 won and Kia down 2.95 percent to 88,900 won.

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.

But IT shares gained ground, with internet portal operator Naver up 2.72 percent to 226,500 won and Kakao, the operator of the country's top mobile messenger, up 2.51 percent to 57,200 won.

IT services company Samsung SDS jumped 4.75 percent to 169,800 won, and Ecopro Materials shot up 7.46 percent to 216,000 won.

The local currency traded at 1,316.00 won against the greenback, down 0.6 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 1.4 basis points to 3.297 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds was flat at 3.312 percent. (Yonhap)