Seoul shares down for 3rd day amid rate hike woes

Seoul shares ended lower Thursday amid investor concerns that the U.S. Federal Reserve may raise interest rates further this year following stronger-than-expected economic data. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index fell 15.08 points, or 0.59 percent, to close at 2,548.26, extending its losses to the third session.

Trading volume was moderate at 370.56 million shares worth 8.04 trillion won (US$6 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 696 to 186.

Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.6 percent to 34,443.19, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite declined 1.1 percent to 13,872.47.

The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) U.S. services index for August stood at 54.4, the highest monthly reading since February. A reading above 50 means growth.

The ISM report supports the view that the Fed has one more rate hike left for the year, analysts said.

In Seoul, large-cap stocks were mixed.

State utility Korea Electric Power Corp. fell 0.2 percent to 17,810 won, leading battery maker LG Energy Solution declined 1.9 percent, leading refiner SK Innovation Co. dropped 1 percent to 172,700 won, and leading home appliance maker LG Electronics Inc. shed 0.7 percent to 99,800 won.

Among gainers, market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. rose 0.6 percent to 70,400 won, top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. climbed 0.3 percent to 187,200 won, national flag carrier Korean Air Co. gained 0.5 percent to 42,600 won, and shipbuilding-to-energy conglomerate HD Hyundai jumped 5.5 percent to 63,700 won.

The local currency ended at 1,335.40 won against the U.S. dollar, down 4.9 won from the previous session’s close.

Source: Yonhap News Agency