Seoul stocks down for 5th session on rate hike concerns

South Korean stocks extended their losing streak to a fifth consecutive session Wednesday as rising US yields and rate hike forecast weighed on investor sentiment.

The Korean won fell against the US dollar.

After a choppy session, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) declined 21.96 points, or 0.77 percent, to close at 2,842.28 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 457 million shares worth some 9.6 trillion won ($8.1 billion), with losers far outnumbering gainers 653 to 230.

Institutions and retailers offloaded a net 49 billion won and 290 billion, respectively, while foreigners scooped up 273 billion won.

The local bourse came off to a lackluster start, tracking an overnight plunge on Wall Street amid heightened expectations of a rate hike by the Federal Reserve.

The market also remained volatile on the IPO subscription for battery maker LG Energy Solution. The firm’s listing is set for Jan. 27.

“The US (stock) market closed lower as rising treasury bonds sapped investors’ appetite for risky assets,” Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities Co. said.

On the Seoul bourse, most large caps closed lower.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 0.91 percent to 76,300 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix inched up 0.4 percent to 127,000 won.

Internet portal operator Naver retreated 1.63 percent to 332,500 won, leading chemical firm LG Chem plunged 5.91 percent to 653,000 won,

Bio shares, meanwhile, closed higher. Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics added 1.24 percent to 816,000 won, and its local rival Celltrion added 4.7 percent to 167,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,191.7 won against the US dollar, down 1.6 won from the previous session’s close. (Yonhap)

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