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(LEAD) Seoul stocks down on higher U.S. inflation data, Ukraine woes

All News 16:43 March 11, 2022

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom, photo)

SEOUL, March 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks retreated Friday, largely due to the record jump in U.S. inflation data that stoked concerns about the Federal Reserve's harsher-than-expected policy tightening and possibilities of global stagflation. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 19.04 points, or 0.71 percent, to close at 2,661.28 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 788 million shares worth some 12.1 trillion won (US$9.8 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 585 to 274.

Institutions sold a net 377 billion won and foreigners offloaded 680 billion won, while retail investors bought 1 trillion won.

Electronic signboards at a Hana Bank dealing room in Seoul show the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 2,661.28 points on March 11, 2022, down 19.04 points or 0.71 percent from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)

The KOSPI dropped as the U.S. consumer price index for February increased 7.59 percent, the fastest growth in four decades. The U.S. Fed is expected to raise its key interest rates next week.

Overnight, the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite decreased 0.95 percent, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.34 percent.

Tech stocks, usually more sensitive to borrowing rates, retreated on investors' worries about the Fed's policy tightening.

Investors remain worried that the inflation may climb even further in March, since the February data does not include much of the impacts from the Ukraine crisis, analysts said.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the entailing economic sanctions by the U.S. and its allies on the Kremlin has pushed up the oil and commodity prices.

"In a global scope, there are many factors that are further stimulating the inflation hike," Mirae Asset Securities analyst Seo Sang-young said.

In Seoul, market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 1.69 percent to 70,000 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix retreated 2.5 percent to 117,000 won.

Giant battery maker LG Energy Solution dropped 6.35 percent to 391,000 won, with internet portal operator Naver moving down 0.45 percent to 329,000 won. Bio heavyweight Samsung Biologics shed 0.76 percent to 787,000 won.

The local currency was trading at 1,232 won against the U.S. dollar, down 3.7 percent from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 1.2 basis points to 2.255 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 3.1 basis points to 2.485 percent.

jwc@yna.co.kr
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