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KOSPI crashes to 10-month low on rising Fed rate hike woes; won at 3-week low

SEOUL, – South Korean stocks plunged over 2.7 percent to the lowest point in 10 months Thursday amid renewed concerns over the possibility of a Fed rate hike. The local currency slid to a 3-week low against the U.S. dollar.The benchmark Korea Composit…

SEOUL, - South Korean stocks plunged over 2.7 percent to the lowest point in 10 months Thursday amid renewed concerns over the possibility of a Fed rate hike. The local currency slid to a 3-week low against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 64.06 points, or 2.71 percent, to close at 2,299.08, the lowest mark since Jan. 6, when the KOSPI finished at 2,289.97.

The secondary KOSDAQ index slid 3.5 percent to 743.85.

KOSPI's trading volume was moderate at 520 million shares worth 9 trillion won (US$6.6 billion), with decliners far outnumbering gainers 833 to 79.

Foreigners dumped a net 478 billion won worth of local shares, while retail investors and institutions bought shares worth 320.8 billion won and 110.6 billion won, respectively.

Overnight, the S&P 500 tumbled 1.43 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shot down 2.43 percent, posting its largest drop this year, on Google's parent Alphabet's disappointing cloud figures and a rise in Treasury yields.

"Amid growing global macro uncertainties, foreign investors have continued their sell-off mode for three months, putting downward pressure on major sectors like semiconductors and batteries," Kim Seok-hwan, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities Co., said.

Kim noted that foreigners turned to net sellers of chipmakers sector for the first time in 10 months.

In Seoul, most big-cap shares, in particular, techs and battery stocks, went south.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 1.91 percent to 66,700 won and the country's No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix tumbled 5.88 percent to 120,000 won.

Battery stocks continued to slump on the grim outlook.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution dropped 2.44 percent to 399,500 won and its smaller rival Samsung SDI plunged 5.05 percent to 423,000 won on a forecast that the global demand for battery and electric vehicles will slow down next year.

Leading chemical producer LG Chem plunged 6.99 percent to 426,000 won and major oil refinery SK Innovation slumped 6.24 percent to 124,700 won.

Steel giant POSCO Holdings slumped 5.39 percent to 421,500 won and its battery component making affiliate POSCO Future M shot down 8.94 percent to 249,500 won.

Auto shares also lost ground, with Hyundai Motor down 1.37 percent to 179,500 won and its smaller affiliate Kia down 1.22 percent to 81,000 won.

Other tech stocks remained in negative terrain.

Internet portal operator Naver declined 3.81 percent to 181,900 won and Kakao, the operator of the country's top mobile messenger, retreated 3.34 percent to 37,650 won amid Kakao's executives' involvement in a stock manipulation case.

Hybe, the K-pop powerhouse behind BTS, also shot down 10.72 percent to 204,000 won.

The local currency ended at 1,360.00 won against the greenback, down 10.3 won from the previous session's close.

Source: Yonhap News Agency