(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom, photos)
SEOUL, June 17 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks ended a five-session winning streak Thursday as investor sentiment for risky assets weakened over the Federal Reserve’s comments about an earlier-than-expected timeline for a rate hike. The Korean won steeply fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 13.72 points, or 0.42 percent, to close at 3,264.96 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 1.8 billion shares worth some 14.4 trillion won (US$12.7 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 495 to 335.
Foreigners sold a net 348 billion won, while retail investors bought 1 trillion won. Institutions offloaded a net 686 billion won.
Stocks opened lower after the key stock index set an all-time record the previous session.
The loss came after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the Fed began discussing measures to scale back its accommodative policies. Fed officials expect two rate hikes by the end of 2023.
Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.77 percent, with the Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 down 0.24 percent and 0.54 percent, respectively.
“The FOMC’s dot plot showed stronger signs (of economic rebound) than expected,” said IBK Securities analyst Ahn So-eun.
“The steeper-than-expected recovery prompted the Fed to start discussing the rate hikes — going a step further from simply scaling back its asset-buying program,” she said.
In Seoul, market bellwether Samsung Electronics dropped 1.1 percent to 80,900 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix retreated 2.32 percent to 126,500 won.
Internet portal operator Naver lost 0.38 percent to 389,500 won, but its rival Kakao jumped 3.5 percent to 148,000 won. Giant pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics closed unchanged at 833,000 won.
Kakao, the operator of the country’s top mobile messenger, rose to finish at a new record at 148,000 won, up 3.5 percent.
Top automaker Hyundai Motor shed 1.25 percent to 236,500 won, while leading chemical firm LG Chem gained 3.34 percent to 835,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,130.4 won against the U.S. dollar, sharply down 13.2 won from the previous session’s close on the Fed’s strong signal about the faster-than-expected rate hike.
The tech-laden Kosdaq index closed at 1,003.72 points, up 0.52 percent, or 5.23 points, from the previous session’s close, surpassing the 1,000-point threshold for the first time in two months.
The index closed at an all-time high of 1,021.01 points on April 27.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 4.1 basis points to 1.327 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 2.4 basis points to 1.710 percent.