An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)
South Korean stocks tumbled nearly 2 percent on Tuesday as investors sold off tech, auto and other stocks amid concerns that monetary tightening and geopolitical risks could tip the global economy into a recession. The Korean won also ended sharply lower against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 40.77 points, or 1.83 percent, to end at 2,192.07.
Trading volume was moderate at 846.31 million shares worth 7.75 trillion won ($5.42 billion), with losers far outpacing gainers 866 to 60.
Institutional investors sold a net 309.7 billion won worth of shares, while foreign and retail investors bought a net combined 306.7 billion won worth of shares.
Tech and auto issues were among sharp decliners.
“The market mood remained fragile on news that the US-China tension results in toughened rules on the chip industry, which is the backbone of the South Korean economy,” Mirae Asset Securities analyst Park Gwang-nam said.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics tumbled 1.42 percent to close at 55,400 won, and chip giant SK hynix shed 1.1 percent to 90,200 won.
The fall came amid recent selling of US semiconductor stocks following Washington’s export controls to limit China’s access to US chip technology and chipmaking equipment.
Overnight, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 1.04 percent, hitting the lowest level in two years on a slump in semiconductor stocks.
Carmakers also ended lower, with top automaker Hyundai Motor sinking 4.27 percent to 168,000 won and its affiliate Kia falling 5.07 percent to 67,400 won, amid mounting concerns that their competitiveness could be seriously hurt by the US Inflation Reduction Act that excludes electric vehicles assembled outside the US from tax incentives.
Battery maker LG Energy Solutions was among the few gainers, advancing 3.11 percent to 15,000 won, and major chemical firm LG Chem also inched up 1.36 percent to 8,000 won.
The local currency ended at 1,435.20 won against the US dollar, down 22.80 won from the previous session’s close. (Yonhap)