Stocks remain largely unchanged as concerns over rate hikes ease
Stocks closed largely unchanged Thursday as high-flying inflation is balanced against eased concerns over faster-than-expected rate hikes. The won rose against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi rose 0.22 point, or 0.01 percent, to close at 2,716.71.
Trading volume was moderate at around 650.95 million shares worth some 11.25 trillion won ($9.18 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 540 to 307.
Foreigners offloaded a combined net total of 254.6 billion won, while retail and institutional investors picked up shares worth 86.2 billion won and 158.1 billion won, respectively.
Earlier in the day, the Bank of Korea raised its key interest rate by a quarter percentage point to 1.5 percent to counter rising inflation, marking its fourth rate increase since last August.
Overnight, the U.S. stock markets closed higher, ending a three-day losing streak, as investors shrugged off the latest consumer prices data with inflation hitting a new 40-year high and received better-than-expected corporate earnings results.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1 percent, the S&P500 added 1.1 percent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 2 percent.
"There are expectations that U.S. inflation might have passed its peak, but worries about economic slowdown and the Fed's tightening risks persist," Chung Da-woon from eBest Investment & Securities said.
Samsung Electronics retreated 1.75 percent to 67,500 won, and battery maker LG Energy Solution rose 2.32 percent to 441,000 won.
Chipmaker SK hynix lost 2.65 percent to close at 110,000 won, and Naver gained 0.81 percent to finish at 313,000 won.
Automaker Hyundai Motor shed 1.93 percent to 177,500, and its affiliate Kia also slid 1.41 percent to 76,800 won.
The local currency closed at 1,224.70 won against the dollar, down 3.3 won from the previous session's close.
The Kosdaq climbed 0.70 points, or 0.08 percent, to close at 928.01 points.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year government bonds declined 10.7 basis points to 2.892 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond retreated 3.2 basis points to 2.69 percent.
BY SHIN HA-NEE, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]