Stocks steady as retail enthusiasm balances rate doubts
Stocks advanced for the fourth session in a row Wednesday, backed as strong economic data fueled expectations of an increase in corporate earnings and a quick economic rebound from the pandemic. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi rose 2.36 points, or 0.07 percent, to close at 3,224.23 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 1.5 billion shares worth some 17.5 trillion won ($15.7 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 514 to 340.
Foreigners bought a net 30 billion won, while institutions sold 315 billion won. Retail investors purchased a net 306 billion won.
The Kospi opened slightly higher amid expectations of an increase in corporate earnings and a quick economic rebound from the pandemic.
Korea's consumer price index rose 2.6 percent on-year in May, marking the fastest on-year increase since April 2012.
Trading turned choppy as investors weighed two opposite potential impacts of the price hike: U.S. tapering and better corporate earnings.
Investors are eying the upcoming economic diagnosis from the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, set to speak Wednesday.
"The FOMC uncertainties seem to be holding off foreign buying of the overall Asian stocks," said Eugene Investment & Securities analyst Huh Jae-hwan.
Samsung Electronics edged up 0.25 percent to 80,800 won, while chipmaker SK hynix lost 1.95 percent to 126,000 won.
Internet portal operator Naver moved down 1.09 percent to 363,000 won, and rival Kakao remained unchanged at 127,000 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics shed 1.68 percent to 818,000 won, and Celltrion lost 2.20 percent to 266,500 won.
Chemical firm LG Chem retreated 2.18 percent to 807,000 won, but automaker Hyundai rose 0.42 percent to 238,000 won. Rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI lost 0.81 percent to 611,000 won.
The Kosdaq lost 3.49 points, or 0.35 percent, to close at 981.10.
The local currency closed at 1,113.3 won against the dollar, up 7.4 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year government bonds lost 0.7 basis point to 1.206 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond gained 2.9 basis points to 1.61 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]