Stocks finish flat as inflation uncertainty lingers
Stocks finished flat Wednesday amid lingering uncertainty over higher inflation and combative monetary tightening in major economies. The won gained ground against the dollar.
The Kospi added 5.54 points, or 0.21 percent, to close at 2,625.98.
Trading volume was moderate at about 813 million shares worth some 9.39 trillion won ($7.4 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 504 to 339.
Institutions shed a net 342.5 billion won worth of shares, while foreigners bought 290.4 billion won and retail investors offloaded 26.1 billion won in net value.
The market rose at opening, boosted by Wall Street gains.
Overnight, U.S. stocks ended higher on a rally in tech stocks following strong retail sales and industrial production data, shaking off Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's hawkish remarks.
Powell said the Fed was prepared to act aggressively to bring down the highest inflation in four decades, while trying to stave off a recession.
The S&P500 rose 2.02 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite went up 2.76 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 1.34 percent.
"The U.S. market rallied not because of a particular event but because of bargain hunting with solid economic data," Na Jeong-hwan from Cape Investment & Securities said.
"The Kospi won't be able to sustain its rising trend, as investors could begin a sell-off to cash in at a certain level."
In Seoul, stocks closed mostly higher.
Samsung Electronics added 0.74 percent to 68,100 won, and SK hynix rose 0.89 percent to 113,500 won. LG Energy Solution went up 0.37 percent to 410,000 won, and Samsung Biologics jumped 3.52 percent to close at 793,000 won.
Kakao lost 0.72 percent to 82,600 won.
The local currency closed at 1,266.60 won against the dollar, down 8.40 won from the previous session's close.
The Kosdaq gained 5.59 points, or 0.65 percent, to close at 871.57 points.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year government bonds gained 3.9 basis points to 3.072 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond advanced 10.7 basis points to 2.98 percent.
BY CHO JUNG-WOO, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]