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(LEAD) Seoul shares up for 2nd day on big-cap tech, steel gains

All News 16:39 March 23, 2022

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom, photo)

SEOUL, March 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks extended their winning streak to a second session Wednesday as institutional investors picked up large-cap steel and tech shares. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 25.05 points, or 0.92 percent, to close at 2,735.05 points.

Trading volume was moderate at 870.73 million shares worth some 11.7 trillion won (US$9.64 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 529 to 300.

Institutional investors bought a net 233.07 billion won worth of stocks, and foreigners picked up shares worth 60.55 billion won, offsetting retail stock selling valued at 299.61 billion won.

Investor sentiment was buoyed by the strong performance of U.S. shares, as traders digested concerns over faster-than-expected interest rate hikes by the U.S. central bank to rein in inflation.

"The Federal Reserve's hawkish stance is not quite new so investors appear to have brushed it off," Huh Jae-hwan, an analyst of Eugene Investment & Securities, said.

Steel shares gathered ground to lead the overall gains, as the ongoing crisis surrounding Ukraine has taken a toll on European steelmakers.

No. 1 steelmaker POSCO Holdings spiked 4.61 percent to 306,500 won, and Hyundai Steel rose 6.72 percent to 42,850 won. Dongkuk Steel soared 4.93 percent to 18,100 won.

Financials also ended in positive terrain amid expectations for higher interest rates and the easing of lending regulations by the incoming government.

KB Financial Group jumped 4.27 percent to 61,100 won, and Kakao Bank advanced 2.75 percent to 52,300 won.

Tech blue chips ended mixed. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 0.28 percent to 70,500 won, and major battery maker LG Energy Solution went up 2.39 percent to 407,000 won.

But No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix closed flat at 123,500 won, and LG Electronics shed 0.81 percent to 123,000 won.

On the secondary KOSDAQ market, AhnLab, a software company founded by presidential transition team chief Ahn Cheol-soo, shot up 29.93 percent to 175,800 won on foreign buying.

Speculation has mounted that Ahn could be named the first prime minister of the incoming Yoon Suk-yeol administration. Ahn, an entrepreneur-turned-politician, dropped out of the presidential race at the last minute to declare his support for Yoon.

The local currency closed at 1,213.80 won against the U.S. dollar, up 4.3 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 2.7 basis points to 2.426 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond rose 1.5 basis points to 2.646 percent.

Electronic signboards at a Hana Bank dealing room in Seoul show the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 2,735.05 points on March 23, 2022, up 25.05 points, or 0.92 percent, from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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