Seoul shares fall more than 1.5% as inflation worries prevail

An electronic chart showing Korea’s Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) in a trading room at Hana Bank’s headquarters in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

Shares in Seoul ended lower on Tuesday as investors remain concerned about inflation despite US President Joe Biden’s remark that US tariffs on Chinese imports are being reviewed for reduction. The South Korean won depreciated against the US dollar.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 41.51 points, or 1.57%, to 2,605.87. Trading volume was moderate at 837.87 million shares worth 8.6 trillion won ($6.8 billion), with declines outpacing gains 742 to 136.

Institutions and foreigners sold a total of 604 billion won worth of stocks, exceeding stock purchases by individuals valued at 580 billion won.

The main index opened higher, reversing overnight gains on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2% to 31,880.24, and the technology-focused Nasdaq index gained 1.6% to 11,535.27.

Investors remain cautious about further rate hikes from the Federal Reserve to curb inflation and the impact of China’s COVID-19 lockdown on the global economy, analysts said.

“They are waiting for a signal from the Fed minutes to be released this week and the results from US retail companies this week. Their results should affect global stocks,” said Yoo Myeong-gan, an analyst at Mirae Asset Daewoo.

In Seoul, most large-cap stocks fell, with market leader Samsung Electronics Co. down 2% at 66,500 won, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. down 4% at 108 500 won and top automaker Hyundai Motor Co. losing 1.6% to 185,000 won.

Among the winners, utility Korea Electric Power Corp. rose 3.5% to 23,500 won, state-owned Korea Gas Corp. climbed 0.1% to 42,150 won and leading car battery maker LG Energy Solution rose 0.1% to 438,500 won.

The local currency finished at 1,266.20 won against the US dollar, down 2.10 won from Monday’s close. (Yonhap)

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