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Seoul shares down for 4th day on geopolitical, rate policy woes

By Yonhap

Published : April 17, 2024 - 16:45

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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 dipped nearly 1 percent Wednesday to expand their losing streak to a fourth day as investors' concerns heightened on hawkish remarks by US Federal Reserve officials and escalating tension in the Middle East. The Korean won rose against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index plunged 25.45 points, or 0.98 percent, to close at 2,584.18.

Trade volume was a little slim at 400.5 million shares worth 9.5 trillion won (US$6.8 billion), with decliners outpacing gainers 456 to 406.

Foreigners and institutions unloaded local shares worth 179.6 billion won and 200.98 billion won, respectively, while retail investors bought 360.8 billion won worth of stocks.

Overnight, the S&P 500 fell 0.2 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq edged down 0.1 percent, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2 percent.

US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said in a forum in Washington that a series of recent inflation reports indicates it is likely to take longer than expected for the central bank to have confidence to start cutting its rates.

"Volatility increased in the stock market as hopes for early rate cuts were shattered on Powell's hawkish remarks following the release of hotter-than-expected March inflation reports," Lee Kyoung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities, said.

In Seoul, most of the big-cap stocks went south.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics dropped 1.38 percent to 78,900 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix decreased 0.22 percent to 178,700 won.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution lost 0.41 percent to 364,500 won, Samsung SDI edged down 0.13 percent to 386,000 won, and POSCO Future M plummeted 3.11 percent to 249,000 won.

Steel giant Posco Holdings and leading chemical producer LG Chem also shed 2.5 percent and 1.7 percent to 371,000 won and 375,500 won, respectively.

Auto shares also sharply lost ground, with Hyundai Motor down 3.51 percent to 233,500 won and Kia down 1.39 percent to 113,100 won.

Samsung C&T shot down 3.94 percent to 138,800 won.

IT shares were among the few gainers, with internet portal operator Naver up 0.06 percent to 179,600 won and Kakao, the operator of the country's top mobile messenger, up 0.32 percent to 46,900 won.

Major defense company Hanwha Aerospace soared 4.27 percent to 220,000 won.

The local currency ended at 1,386.80 won against the greenback, up 7.7 won from the previous session's close, ending its slide after seven consecutive trading days. (Yonhap)