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Seoul shares down for 2nd day amid eased US debt ceiling woes

June 1, 2023 - 16:11 By Yonhap
An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)

South Korean stocks fell for a second straight session Thursday, as a consecutive fall in exports weighed down major tech and auto stocks, while the passage of a US debt ceiling deal by the House gave relief to investors. The local currency rose against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index slipped 7.95 points, or 0.31 percent, to 2,569.17. Trading volume was moderate at 664.2 million shares worth 9.04 trillion won ($6.83 billion), with decliners slightly outnumbering gainers 436 to 422.

"The fact that political uncertainties are going down below the surface is an element that can whet investor appetite for risky assets," Kiwoom Securities Co. analyst Han Ji-young said.

"That said, we expect to see for some time the market keeping a wary eye over macro factors, like the Fed's moves and recession concerns," Han said.

The US House of Representatives passed a bill late Wednesday to suspend the debt ceiling to avoid a potentially disastrous default. The bill is now up for Senate approval before the June 5 deadline, which observers expect to go smoothly.

South Korea's exports fell for an eighth consecutive month in May to $52.24 billion on falling chip demand, but the pace of the slump eased in a sign that global demand is picking up.

Major tech and auto shares dragged down the Kospi. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 0.7 percent to 70,900 won, and top battery maker LG Energy Solution dipped 2.5 percent to 584,000 won.

Leading automaker Hyundai Motor retreated 1.25 percent to 197,500 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia fell 1.98 percent to 84,200 won.

In contrast, chip giant SK hynix rose 1.57 percent to 110,300 won. Internet portal provider Naver gained 2.26 percent to 204,000 won, and materials maker Posco Future M advanced 2.71 percent to 359,500 won.

The local currency ended at 1,321.60 won against the US dollar, up 5.6 won from Thursday's close. (Yonhap)