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Seoul stocks down for 2nd day on U.S. rate hike woes; Korean won at over 13-year low

All News 15:53 September 02, 2022

SEOUL, Sept. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks fell Friday on concerns over the U.S. central bank's aggressive rate hikes and the tumbling Korean won. The Korean won slid further to a 13-year low against the U.S. dollar.

After choppy trading, the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 6.2 points, or 0.26 percent, to close at 2,409.41, extending the losing streak to a second session.

Trading volume was a bit slim at 382.35 million shares worth 7.02 trillion won (US$5.15 billion), with decliners outpacing gainers 528 to 322.

Foreigners and institutions shed shares worth 779.57 billion won and 199.75 billion won, respectively, while retail investors picked up a net 288.46 billion won worth of shares.

The index opened higher on dip-buying following a big drop in the previous session and had moved in a tight range before slipping into negative territory ahead of the release of key U.S. economic data.

Investors await the U.S. payroll data for August due Friday (U.S. time), as the job report is one of the key factors for the Fed's monetary policy.

"Some see the recent fall in the face of the Federal Reserve's monetary tightening somewhat excessive given the corporate valuation. But even sound U.S. jobs market and other economic data would rather reinforce expectations for the Fed's hawkish moves," Kiwoom Securities analyst Han Ji-young said.

The Fed has said it will continue interest rate hikes for some time to curb inflation. In July, it raised its key interest rate by 75 basis points for the second straight month.

Major shares in Seoul ended mixed.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics shed 1.54 percent to 57,500 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix lost 0.76 percent to 91,700 won on news that South Korea's exports of semiconductors marked an on-year fall in August for the first time in 26 months.

Investors also worried about the impact of the U.S. government's decision to force chip giant Nvidia to halt sales to China of two of its major chips used for artificial intelligence.

Major chemical firm LG Chem sank 2.09 percent to 610,000 won, and No. 1 steelmaker POSCO Holdings lost 2.77 percent to 246,000 won.

But key battery maker LG Energy Solution surged 4.1 percent to 482,000 won, and Samsung SDI added 0.17 percent to 576,000 won.

Major carmakers also rose, with Hyundai Motor growing 0.51 percent to 196,500 won and its smaller affiliate Kia increasing 0.75 percent to 80,800 won.

Major bio shares finished mixed. Samsung Biologics, the biotech arm of South Korea's Samsung Group, advanced 1.45 percent to 838,000 won, while pharmaceutical giant Celltrion skidded 1.07 percent to 184,500 won.

The local currency ended at 1,362.6 won against the U.S. dollar, down 7.7 won from the previous session's close. It marked the lowest figure since April 1, 2009, when it ended at 1,379.5 won.


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