SEOUL– Seoul stocks closed slightly down Friday as traders took a wait-and-see stance amid persistent uncertainties over monetary tightening and the global economic outlook. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 3.47 points, or 0.14 percent, to close at 2,437.86.
The index fell 0.27 percent from a week ago.
Trading volume was light at 430.8 million shares worth 5.98 trillion won (US$4.51 billion), with gainers slightly outnumbering losers 445 to 398.
Foreign and institutional investors bought a combined net 83.3 billion won worth of shares, while retail investors offloaded a combined net 116.5 billion won.
While traders are increasingly predicting less aggressive rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve as inflation data shows signs of slowing, upward momentum in global stock markets is lacking.
China’s worsening COVID-19 situation is adding to concerns.
On Thursday, the Bank of Korea delivered a 25 basis-point rate hike to bring down high prices.
BOK Gov. Rhee Chang-yong said the central bank will not discuss rate cuts until there are clear signs of inflation falling to its target range.
Most large-cap shares in Seoul closed down.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics dropped 0.65 percent to 61,000 won, and SK hynix also declined 2.07 percent to 85,100 won. Major chemical firm LG Chem also lost 0.96 percent to 721,000 won.
The country’s biggest portal site operator, Naver, shed 1.6 percent to 185,000 won, and Kakao, the operator of South Korea’s dominant messaging app KakaoTalk, fell 2.26 percent to 56,100 won.
Among gainers, Samsung Biologics, the biotech arm of South Korea’s Samsung Group, rose 0.78 percent to 903,000 won, and battery maker Samsung SDI added 0.69 percent to 725,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,323.70 won against the U.S. dollar, up 4.5 won from the previous session’s close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 4.5 basis points to 3.644 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond lost 4.8 basis points to 3.670 percent.
Source: Yonhap News Agency