Seoul stocks sink 1.5 pct on U.S. inflation concerns

SEOUL-- South Korean stocks finished 1.5 percent lower on Thursday on massive foreign and institutional selling that stemmed from concerns of inflation and bond yield hikes in U.S. financial markets. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 47.07 points, or 1.5 percent, to close at 3,086.66 points, falling for the second straight session.

Trading volume was moderate at about 1.8 billion shares worth some 17.9 trillion won (US$16.1 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 615 to 245.

Foreigners sold a net 860 billion won, while retail investors purchased a net 1.5 trillion won. Institutions offloaded a net 613 billion won.

"Although the speed of U.S. yield hikes slowed a bit, strong inflation pressure is still adding concerns to the stock markets," Eugene Investment & Securities analyst Huh Jae-hwan said.

Tech and auto stocks ended in negative terrain, with other market heavyweights suffering losses.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 1.32 percent to 82,100 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix shed 3.08 percent to 126,000 won.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics decreased 0.38 percent to 783,000 won, and Celltrion retreated 2.18 percent to 314,500 won.

Internet portal giant Naver declined 1.02 percent to 388,000 won, with its rival Kakao moving down 1.57 percent to 501,000 won.

Leading chemical maker LG Chem fell 1.88 percent to 939,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI dropped 1.99 percent to 789,000 won.

Hyundai Motor, the country's largest automaker, dipped 3.29 percent to 235,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,107.6 won per dollar, down 0.1 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 0.1 basis point to 0.985 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 1.4 basis points to 1.330 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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