Shares barely budge as investors hold out amid economic slowdown
Shares closed nearly flat Wednesday as investors took a wait-and-see approach to the global economic slowdown and the U.S. central bank's monetary tightening. The won went up against the dollar.
After a choppy session, the benchmark Kospi inched down 0.2 points, or 0.01 percent, to 2,718.69 points.
Around 1.7 billion shares worth some 12.1 trillion won ($9.8 billion) changed hands, with gainers outnumbering losers 513 to 317.
Foreigners scooped up a net 94.4 billion won worth of stocks, ending a selling spree of 10 consecutive sessions. Individuals also purchased a net 75.1 billion won worth of stocks while institutions offloaded 161.2 billion won.
Analysts said investors are wary of global economic uncertainties. The International Monetary Fund forecast that the global economy would see its growth slow to 3.6 percent this year, from 6.1 percent last year and 0.8 percentage points lower than its January forecast, citing downside risks stemming from the ongoing crisis surrounding Ukraine.
Adding to woes is the Federal Reserve's belt-tightening, as Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said he would not rule out a 75-basis-point interest rate hike this year to raise it to about 3.5 percent.
"The local bourse market showed mixed trading and ended nearly flat as investors digested concerns over an interest rate hike despite the U.S. stock market gains," said Kim Seok-hwan, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities.
Most large-cap stocks traded mixed across the board.
Samsung Electronics inched up 0.15 percent to 67,400 won after opening lower, and battery maker LG Energy Solution climbed 0.23 percent to 436,500 won.
Hyundai Motor advanced 1.1 percent to 183,000 won, and its Kia soared 2.56 percent to 80,100 won.
The local currency closed at 1,236.1 won against the dollar, down 0.8 won from the previous session.
The Kosdaq dipped 2.63 points, or 0.28 percent, to close at 928.93 points.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year government bonds declined 3.1 basis points to 2.961 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond gained 8.0 basis points to 2.93 percent.
BY SHIN HA-NEE [email@example.com]