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(LEAD) Seoul shares pare gains to close almost flat amid recession fears

BIZ 16:51 September 29, 2022

(ATTN: ADDS photo, comments in 8th para, bond prices at bottom)

SEOUL, Sept. 29 (Yonhap) -- Seoul stocks ended almost flat Thursday, shedding nearly all earlier gains amid woes that combative monetary tightening moves in major economies would lead to a global economic recession. The Korean won rose slightly against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 1.64 points, or 0.08 percent, to close at 2,170.93, after hitting an intraday high of 2,210.61.

On Wednesday, the index hit an over 2-year low on growing concerns over a global recession.

Trading volume was moderate at about 499 million shares worth some 7.1 trillion won (US$4.9 billion), with gainers slightly outnumbering losers 440 to 417.

Institutions and retail investors offloaded a net 225 billion won. Foreigners bought a net 218 billion won.

Screens show the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index, the won-dollar exchange rate and the tech-rich KOSDAQ at a Hana Bank branch in central Seoul on Sept. 29, 2022. (Yonhap)

The market opened higher, tracking overnight Wall Street gains on the bond buying by the Bank of England to stabilize its financial markets.

But investor sentiment was again dampened by growing fears of a global economic slowdown.

"The bond buying only temporarily eased concerns but did not remove them entirely. So the market became suspicious over time," Huh Jae-hwan, an analyst at Eugene Investment & Securities, said, adding investors will closely watch the U.S. personal consumption expenditures price index this week and employment data next week.

Large-cap shares ended mixed.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics inched down 0.57 percent to close at 52,600 won, and chip giant SK hynix declined 0.49 percent to 80,800 won.

Battery maker LG Energy Solutions rose 1.5 percent to 440,000 won, top automaker Hyundai Motor gained 1.11 percent to 181,500 won, and its affiliate Kia also added 0.81 percent to 74,500 won. Major chemical firm LG Chem climbed 0.18 percent to 547,000 won.

The local currency ended at 1,438.90 won against the U.S. dollar, up 1 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mostly higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys shed 3.5 basis points to 4.303 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds lost 3.9 basis points to 4.335 percent.


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