The Korea Herald

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Seoul shares up for 2nd day on revived rate-cut hopes; won soars to near 2-month high

By Yonhap

Published : May 16, 2024 - 16:18

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

South Korean stocks finished nearly 1 percent up Thursday as hopes for a possible US rate cut boosted investor sentiment here. The local currency sharply rose to an almost two-month high against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index added 22.66 points, or 0.83 percent, to 2,753, after reaching an intraday high of 2,773.46 points.

Trade volume was moderate at 510.3 million shares worth 13 trillion won ($9.66 billion), with gainers outpacing decliners 531 to 345.

Foreign investors and institutions scooped up a net 426.4 billion won and 593.1 billion won worth of local shares, respectively, offsetting a net sale of 964.9 billion won by individuals.

Overnight, data showed US consumer prices rose by a slower-than-expected 0.3 percent in April from a month earlier and 3.4 percent from a year ago. The moderated inflation fueled optimism that the Federal Reserve would lower key rates later this year.

Celebrating the data, Wall Street's main indices finished at record highs, as the Nasdaq composite added 1.4 percent to its own record and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.9 percent to an all-time high.

Analysts said the mild US inflation increased its appetite for risky assets, resulting in an inflow of foreign capital to the Korean stock market.

In Seoul, most shares finished in positive territory across the board.

Major chipmaker SK hynix jumped 4.16 percent to 193,000 won, and home appliances giant LG Electronics gained 0.51 percent to 98,800 won.

HD Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering rose 1.32 percent to 137,700 won, and chemical firm OCI climbed 0.53 percent to 95,600 won.

Hybe, a record label behind global superstars BTS, edged up 0.26 percent to 194,000 won after becoming the first K-pop agency to be put on the chaebol watchlist by the South Korean antitrust watchdog.

However, Samsung Electronics, the world's largest memory chipmaker, fell 0.13 percent to 78,200 won, and leading battery maker LG Energy Solution dropped 1.04 percent to 381,500 won.

The local currency ended at 1,345 won against the US dollar, up 24.1 won from the previous session's close, the highest since March 28, when the currency ended at 1,339.5 won. (Yonhap)