Seoul stocks nearly flat despite Pyongyang’s ICBM launch, Ukraine uncertainties

SEOUL-- South Korean stocks closed almost flat Friday despite North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch and the Ukraine-Russia war. The Korean won closed unchanged against the U.S. dollar.

After choppy trading, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index advanced 0.32 point, or 0.01 percent, to close at 2,729.98 points. The index gained 0.85 percent from a week ago.

Trading volume was moderate at about 590 million shares worth some 10.7 trillion won (US$8.8 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 503 to 343.

Institutions sold a net 133 billion won, and foreigners sold 553 billion won, while retail investors bought 670 billion won.

Investors digested the overnight U.S. stock rallies, weighing North Korea's test-firing of a new ICBM and the Ukraine crisis.

"The Ukraine-Russia war is still casting uncertainties, with investors paying close attention to the war development," said Shinyoung Securities analyst Park So-yeon.

Investors also remained wary about improved U.S. jobless data, which stocked concerns about faster-than-expected tightening by the Federal Reserve.

Large caps closed lower in Seoul.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics closed flat at 69,800 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix declined 2.07 percent to 118,000 won.

Internet portal operator Naver shed 2.06 percent to 333,000 won, and bio heavyweight Samsung Biologics shed 0.61 percent to 819,000 won.

Among gainers, battery heavyweight LG Energy Solution soared 7.6 percent to 439,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,218.8 won against the U.S. dollar, the same as the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 5 basis points to 2.505 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond rose 5.2 basis points to 2.713 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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