Seoul shares sharply rebound on bargain hunting; inflation woes remain

SEOUL-- Seoul shares bounced back to end higher on Friday, snapping an eight-session losing streak, as investors scooped up large-cap stocks on bargain hunting amid inflation concerns. The South Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 54.16 points, or 2.12 percent, to 2,604.24. The main index shed 5.4 percent over the past eight sessions through Thursday.

The KOSPI had continued to fall as investors expect the Federal Reserve to deliver a series of big-step rate hikes in the months to come to tame the highest inflation in decades.

Trading volume was moderate at 772.35 million shares worth 10.13 trillion won (US$7.9 billion), with gainers outpacing decliners 740 to 145.

Foreigners and institutions bought a combined 917 billion won worth of stocks, shrugging off data showing U.S. wholesale prices jumped 11 percent in April from a year earlier. Individuals sold a net 907 billion won stocks.

"Foreigners and institutions' purchases of technology and other large-cap stocks gave a boost to the KOSPI index," Noh Dong-kil, an analyst at Shinhan Corp., said.

But the U.S. central bank's additional rate hikes and China's COVID-19 lockdown remain major worries for investors, he said.

Most large-cap stocks advanced across the board.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. rose 2.5 percent to 66,500 won, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. climbed 3.2 percent to 112,500 won, top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. gained 3.3 percent to 186,500 won, and national flag carrier Korean Air Lines Co. added 2.5 percent to 29,150 won.

Among losers, Samsung Biologics Co. fell 0.4 percent to 785,000 won, leading travel agency Hana Tour declined 0.3 percent to 72,400 won, and state-run Korea Gas Corp. shed 0.1 percent to 44,200 won.

The local currency ended at 1,284.20 won against the U.S. dollar, up 4.40 won from Thursday's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 1.1 basis points to 2.911 percent and the return on the five-year government bonds climbed 2.4 basis points to 3.122 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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