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(LEAD) Seoul shares down on high global oil prices, Ukraine woes

All News 16:36 March 24, 2022

(ATTN: ADDS Samsung's block deal in paras 8-9, bond yields at bottom, photo)

SEOUL, March 24 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks fell to end its two-day winning streak Thursday as investors weighed a fresh spike in global oil prices and lingering geopolitical concerns surrounding Ukraine. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 5.39 points, or 0.20 percent, to close at 2,729.66 points.

Trading volume was moderate at 927.75 million shares worth some 11.48 trillion won (US$9.42 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 479 to 361.

The Seoul shares got off to a weak start, tracking overnight Wall Street losses, and had tumbled as much as 1.04 percent, as oil prices soared due to supply disruptions from a crucial pipeline on Russia's Black Sea coast.

But some of the early losses were recovered on strong individual buying, with individual investors buying a net 675.16 billion won worth of stocks. Foreigners and institutions dumped shares worth 473.55 billion won and 223.31 billion won, respectively.

"Looming additional sanctions by the U.S. against Russia and more hawkish comments by Federal Reserve officials on rate hikes have affected investor sentiment. But part of those issues have already been reflected to limit the fall," Samsung Securities analyst Kim Yong-koo said.

Tech and bio shares ended lower to drag down the index.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 0.99 percent to 69,800 won, after its shares worth $1.1 billion were sold in a block deal, which would help the owner family raise cash to pay a tax bill.

Around 19.94 million Samsung Electronics shares were sold at 68,800 won per share, a 2.4 percent discount to Wednesday's closing price of 70,500 won.

No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix also tumbled 2.43 percent to 120,500 won. Bio heavyweight Samsung Biologics skidded 1.32 percent to 824,000 won, and Celltrion declined 0.88 percent to 168,000 won.

Top steelmaker POSCO Holdings decreased 0.82 percent to 304,000 won on profit-taking, and Internet portal operator Naver went up 1.59 percent to 340,000 won.

But chemicals and energy shares ended in positive territory.

Major battery maker LG Energy Solution added 0.25 percent to 408,000 won, and LG Chem spiked 4.53 percent to 531,000 won. SK Innovation rose 0.48 percent to 211,500 won, and S-Oil surged 1.34 percent to 90,600 won.

The local currency closed at 1,218.80 won against the U.S. dollar, down 5.0 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 2.9 basis points to 2.455 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond rose 1.5 basis points to 2.661 percent.

A sign at a Seoul gas station shows the retail price of standard gasoline at 2,428 won (US$1.99) per liter on March 23, 2022. (Yonhap)▲▲

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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