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Seoul shares hit 18-month low amid inflation woes; Korean won continues to fall

Stocks 16:14 May 12, 2022

SEOUL, May 12 (Yonhap) -- Seoul shares dropped by more than 1.5 percent on Thursday to extend their losing streak to the eighth day as technology stocks declined amid concerns over high inflation and a global economic slowdown. The South Korean won fell sharply against the U.S. dollar.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 42.19 points, or 1.63 percent, to 2,550.08, the lowest since Nov. 19, 2020.

Trading volume was moderate at 883.2 million shares worth 11.93 trillion won (US$9.25 billion), with decliners outpacing gainers 794 to 117.

The main index continued to fall in the past eight sessions as investors expect the Federal Reserve to deliver a series of big-step rate hikes in the months to come to tame high-flying inflation.

Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 3.2 percent.

"Worse-than-expected U.S. inflation data sparked heavy selling of technology stocks on Wall Street. It also weighed on Korean tech stocks," Noh Dong-kil, an analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp., said.

At the moment, there seems to be no upward momentum due to further rate hikes in the U.S. and the fallout from China's COVID-19 lockdown, he said.

Institutions and foreigners sold a combined 433.56 billion won worth of stocks, outpacing individuals' stock purchases valued at 385.92 billion won.

Most large-cap stocks declined across the board.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. fell 1.2 percent to 64,900 won, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. declined 1.4 percent to 109,000 won, top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. lost 1.4 percent to 180,500 won, and national flag carrier Korean Air Lines Co. shed 3.2 percent to 28,450 won.

Among gainers, the country's leading tiremaker Hankook Tire & Technology Co. jumped 7.4 percent to 35,750 won, Korea Aerospace Industries Co. rose 0.7 percent to 46,450 won, and state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp. gained 0.7 percent to 22,250 won.

The local currency ended at 1,288.60 won against the U.S. dollar, down 13.30 won from Wednesday's close.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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