Seoul shares end higher on foreign buying after Powell comments

SEOUL-- Seoul shares ended higher Wednesday on foreign buying after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said that inflation has begun to come down. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 31.93 points, or 1.3 percent, to 2,483.64. Trading volume was moderate at 406.98 million shares worth 7.9 trillion won (US$6.3 billion), with gainers outpacing decliners 591 to 282.

Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.8 percent to 34,156.69 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.9 percent to 12,113.79.

At the Economic Club of Washington on Tuesday (U.S. time), Powell said disinflation has begun, though further rate hikes will likely be needed to combat inflation if the job market remains strong.

The Fed raised rates by 25 basis points last week to a band of 4.5 percent to 4.75 percent.

Institutions and foreigners bought a combined 582 billion won worth of stocks, offsetting individuals' selling valued at 563 billion won.

Foreigners turned net buyers to scoop up tech stocks after selling local stocks in the past two sessions.

In Seoul, most large-cap stocks advanced.

Market behemoth Samsung Electronics Co. rose 1.9 percent to 63,100 won, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. jumped 5.5 percent to 107,600 won, top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. climbed 1.3 percent to 172,700 won, and state utility Korea Electric Power Corp. gained 1.3 percent to 19,330 won.

Among decliners, budget carrier Jin Air Co. fell 1.6 percent to 17,550 won, No. 2 full-service carrier Asiana Airlines Inc. lost 0.07 percent to 14,850 won, and leading chemical firm LG Chem Ltd. shed 1.3 percent to 672,000 won.

The local currency ended at 1,260.10 won against the U.S. dollar, down 4.8 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 2.4 basis points to 3.339 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds climbed 3.3 basis points to 3.323 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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