Seoul shares log 7-day winning streak amid rate hike woes; won sharply down

South Korean stocks finished marginally up to extend their winning streak to a seventh day on Monday amid lingering concerns over rate hikes in major economies. The local currency fell against the U.S. dollar.

After choppy trading, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 4.42 points, or 0.17 percent, to close at 2,575.91, extending its winning streak to seven sessions.

Trading volume was high at 765.6 million shares worth 12.5 trillion won (US$9.59 billion) with gainers outnumbering decliners 488 to 389.

U.S. economic data showed that inflation is coming down, adding to hopes the Federal Reserve will dial back its aggressive rate-hike cycle.

Wall Street, however, finished lower, as consumer prices except for food and gasoline are still stubbornly high, which points to the possibility that the U.S. Federal Reserve could keep rates high for longer after its widely expected 25 basis points hike in May.

In Seoul, most big-cap stocks finished mixed.

Tech heavyweight Samsung Electronics inched up 0.31 percent to close at 65,300 won.

Chemical giant LG Chem rose 0.37 percent to 805,000 won, steel giant POSCO Holdings was up 1.8 percent to 423,500 won and its chemical components-making unit, POSCO Future M, spiked 12.26 percent to close at 384,500 won on the rosy growth prospects of secondary battery materials.

Among the losers, top battery maker LG Energy Solution fell 0.51 percent to 591,000 won, and Samsung SDI lost 0.92 percent to 755,000 won.

No. 1 automaker Hyundai Motor slid 0.56 percent to 195,000 won and its smaller sister Kia went down 0.94 percent to 84,500 won.

The local currency ended at 1,311.1 won against the U.S. dollar, down 12.2 won from the previous session's close.

Source: Yonhap News Agency