Economy

(LEAD) Seoul shares edge down amid U.S. slowdown woes; won sharply down

SEOUL, – South Korean stocks ended lower Thursday as investors were concerned the U.S. economy may be losing steam. The local currency sharply fell against the U.S. dollar.The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 3.31 points, or 0….

SEOUL, - South Korean stocks ended lower Thursday as investors were concerned the U.S. economy may be losing steam. The local currency sharply fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 3.31 points, or 0.13 percent, to close at 2,492.07.

Trade volume was moderate at 440.6 million shares worth 8.03 trillion won (US$6.06 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 525 to 354.

Institutions dumped a combined 204.8 billion won worth of shares, while individual and foreign investors bought shares worth 151.2 billion won and 39.8 billion won, respectively.

Overnight, all three major U.S. indexes lost ground as weaker-than-expected jobs data fueled concerns over a possible slowdown of the U.S. economy.

A decline in tech heavyweights also weighed on the U.S. market, with AI chip leader Nvidia sinking 2.3 percent and Microsoft and Amazon down more than 1 percent.

"Investment sentiment in Asian markets remained weak as hopes for a Federal Reserve rate cut are overshadowed by concerns over economic slowdown amid weak employment," Kim Seok-hwan, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities, said.

In Seoul, big-cap shares traded mixed.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 0.28 percent to 71,500 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix was flat at 125,600 won.

Top carmaker Hyundai Motor dropped 0.16 percent to 182,600 won, while its smaller affiliate Kia gained 0.71 percent to 85,100 won.

Steel giant POSCO Holdings retreated 1 percent to 447,000 won, and leading chemical producer LG Chem pulled back 0.53 percent to 468,500 won.

Home appliances maker LG Electronics plunged 4.7 percent to 95,300 won on speculations that its fourth quarter earnings will be below market expectations on weak global demand and increasing competition.

Battery shares were bullish.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution added 0.47 percent to 426,500 won and its smaller rival Samsung SDI jumped 2.31 percent to 443,500 won.

POSCO Future M shot up 5.02 percent to 334,500 won and Ecopro Materials soared 4.35 percent to 127,000 won.

The state-run utility Korea Electric Power climbed 2.56 percent to 19,650 won.

The local currency ended at 1,325.30 won against the greenback, down 12.20 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys gained 4.8 basis points to 3.511 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds climbed 3.8 basis points to 3.520 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency