Seoul stocks advance for 2nd session on eased FOMC uncertainties

SEOUL-- South Korean stocks advanced for a second straight session Thursday amid eased uncertainties from the FOMC meeting results. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 17.02 points, or 0.57 percent, to close at 3,006.41 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 397 million shares worth some 8.4 trillion won (US$7.1 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 416 to 406.

Foreigners bought a net 183 billion won, while institutions sold 52 billion won and retail investors offloaded 168billion won.

Stocks traded in positive terrain, largely as the FOMC results stayed within market expectations, particularly the Fed's stimulus withdrawal and interest rate hike plans.

The Fed said it would double the speed of the tapering of its bond purchasing program and projected three rate hikes in 2022. The Fed also expects there (could be two rate hikes each in 2023 and 2024.

Overnight, the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite jumped 2.15 percent, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 1.08 percent.

"The Fed's tapering issues seems to have had limited influence over Asian stock prices," said Mirae Asset Securities analyst Park Gwang-nam.

South Korea's new COVID-19 cases hit a fresh high of 7,622, and the number of critically ill patients neared 1,000.

Most large caps closed higher in Seoul.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 0.26 percent to 77,800 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix added 0.4 percent to 124,000 won.

Internet portal operator Naver closed unchanged at 387,500 won, and pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics jumped 5.97 percent to 958,000 won due to the country's record virus cases.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor climbed 0.24 percent to 209,500 won, and leading chemical firm LG Chem increased 1.29 percent to 705,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,183.9 won to the U.S. dollar, up 1.3 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 4.2 basis points to 1.766 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 4.5 basis points to 1.938 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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