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Seoul shares end higher amid US rate hike woes

Nov. 20, 2023 - 16:28 By Yonhap
An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)

Seoul shares closed higher Monday despite investor concerns over possible US rate hikes to tame high inflation. The Korean won rose against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 0.86 percent, or 21.35 points, to close at 2,491.20.

Trade volume was moderate at 319.84 million shares worth 6.5 trillion won ($5.03 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 648 to 229.

The Kospi opened nearly flat amid concerns of an additional US rate hike.

The US Federal Reserve has been expected to be at or near the end of its hiking cycle, but San Francisco Federal Reserve President Mary Daly warned it is too early to end the tightening campaign.

On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 0.01 percent to 34,947.28, and the tech-rich NASDAQ added 0.08 percent to 14,125.48.

This week, investors are keeping an eye on Nvidia Corp.'s earnings, as well as inflation readings in Japan and Canada, for cues as to the reorganization of their portfolios, analysts said.

"Investors are now adding to bets that the Fed will cut rates in the first half of next year and Nvidia will come up with solid earnings results as its big-tech peers did in late October and early November," said Park Hee-cheol, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities Co.

"Such expectations helped Kospi end in positive territory."

Institutions and foreigners bought a combined 534 billion won worth of stocks, offsetting individuals' stock selling valued at 539 billion won.

Tech and energy stocks were the lead gainers.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 0.3 percent to 72,700 won, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix climbed 1.2 percent to 131,400 won, leading wireless services provider SK Telecom gained 0.2 percent to 52,000 won and leading car battery maker LG Energy Solution jumped 2.8 percent to 444,000 won.

Top carmaker Hyundai Motor fell 0.4 percent to 183,600 won, national flag carrier Korean Air declined 0.9 percent to 22,350 won and No. 2 steelmaker Hyundai Steel shed 1.3 percent to 34,700 won.

The local currency closed at 1,291.6 won against the greenback, up 5.3 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)