Seoul stocks up for 2nd day amid eased monetary tightening woes


SEOUL– Seoul stocks closed higher Thursday after the Bank of Korea delivered a modest 25-basis point rate hike, as the economy shows signs of losing momentum. The Korean won sharply rose against the U.S. dollar.


The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 23.32 points, or 0.96 percent, to close at 2,441.33, extending its winning streak for a second session.


Trading volume was moderate at 466.1 million shares worth 6.28 trillion won (US$ 4.7 billion), with gainers far outnumbering losers 670 to 194.


Foreign and institutional investors bought a combined net 66.1 billion won worth of shares, while retail investors offloaded a combined net 217.6 billion won.

The market opened higher here, tracking overnight Wall Street gains boosted by a dovish stance by U.S. Federal Reserve officials shown in the minutes from their November meeting that they might soon slow down rate increases while avoiding hurting economic growth too much.


Earlier in the day, the BOK raised its policy rate by a quarter percentage point to tame persistently high inflation. But it slowed the pace of monetary tightening amid worries over high borrowing costs and their impact on economic growth.


Most large-cap shares in Seoul closed up.


Market bellwether Samsung Electronics edged up 0.66 percent to end at 61,400 won, and smaller rival SK hynix rose 2 percent at 86,900 won.


Top carmaker Hyundai Motor added 0.9 percent at 167,500 won, while sister affiliate Kia inched down 0.6 percent at 65,900 won.


Major chemical firm LG Chem advanced 3.85 percent at 728,000 won.


Battery maker LG Energy Solution climbed 1.25 percent at 568,000 won, and Samsung Biologics, the biotech arm of South Korea’s Samsung Group, went up 0.9 percent at 896,000 won.


Kakao rose 3.05 percent to close at 57,400 won and portal operator Naver also added 3.58 percent at 188,000 won.


The local currency closed at 1,328.20 won against the U.S. dollar, up 23.6 won from the previous session’s close.


Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys declined 16.0 basis points to 3.689 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond shed 14.6 basis points to 3.718 percent.



Source: Yonhap News Agency