Seoul shares end higher on tech gains

SEOUL-- Seoul shares ended higher Friday spurred by gains in tech shares, though investors remain concerned about the Fed's looming tapering move. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 34.36 points, or 1.18 percent, to close at 2,954.89 points.

The KOSPI rebounded from a 2.3 percent drop in the previous two sessions. The decline was attributable to Fed meeting minutes that suggested the U.S. central bank may raise interest rates sooner and higher than expected.

Trading volume was moderate at about 535 million shares worth some 10.14 trillion won (US$8.4 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 648 to 207.

Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Co.'s robust fourth-quarter earnings guidance helped buoy the main index.

Samsung Electronics, the world's biggest smartphone maker, expected its operating profit will jump 53 percent on-year to 13.8 trillion won in the October-December quarter.

LG Electronics also estimated its fourth-quarter sales at a record 21 trillion won, up 21 percent from a year ago. They are expected to release their 2021 earnings results later this month.

But the hawkish stance from the U.S. central bank will make some investors reorganize their portfolios in an environment of rising rates, analysts said.

Tech and auto stocks were lead gainers.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 1.8 percent to 78,300 won, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. climbed 1.6 percent to 27,000 won, LG Electronics Co. gained 1.9 percent to 37,500 won, and top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. was up 0.5 percent to 215,000 won.

Among losers, dominant tobacco company KT&G Corp. fell 0.4 percent to 78,400 won, leading cosmetics firm AmorePacific Corp. declined 1.8 percent to 160,500 won, and No. 1 refiner SK Innovation Co. shed 0.2 percent to 247,000 won.

The local currency was trading at 1,201.50 won to the U.S. dollar, down 0.50 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 0.2 basis point to 2.015 percent, but the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 3.8 basis points to 2.255 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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