Stocks drop more than 1 percent as rate hike fears increase
Stocks retreated more than 1 percent Wednesday, as strong U.S. economic data raised concerns about an earlier than expected rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve amid rising inflation. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi lost 34.79 points, or 1.16 percent, to close at 2,962.42 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 533 million shares worth some 10.5 trillion won ($8.9 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 730 to 157.
Foreigners bought a net 70 billion won and individuals purchased 769 billion won, while institutions sold a net 886 billion won.
U.S. retail sales in October logged the biggest gain since March, driving up the U.S. Treasury yields and strengthening the dollar against other currencies.
"The estimate-beating U.S. retail sales seem to be adding to the possibilities of a stronger tapering," said Bookook Securities analyst Lee Won.
In Seoul, Samsung Electronics decreased 0.84 percent to 70,700 won, and chipmaker SK hynix declined 1.34 percent to 110,500 won.
Internet portal operator Naver fell 1.11 percent to 401,000 won, and Kakao dropped 1.96 percent to 125,000 won. Kakao Bank rose 0.96 percent to 63,100 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics retreated 2.52 percent to 850,000 won, and Celltrion fell 4.37 percent to 219,000 won.
Hyundai Motor climbed 0.24 percent to 207,000 won, while its sister company Kia moved down 0.24 percent to 84,000 won. Battery maker SK Innovation fell 2.84 percent to 222,500 won.
Game publisher NCSoft rose 2.84 percent to 725,000 won and Krafton jumped 3.66 percent to 567,000 won.
The stock market will open and close an hour late on Thursday due to the College Scholastic Ability Test.
The Kosdaq fell 4.2 points, or 0.41 percent, to close at 1,031.26.
The local currency closed at 1,182.5 won against the dollar, up 2.6 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year government bonds added 0.8 basis point to 1.975 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond rose 1.8 basis points to 1.63 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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