South Korean stocks finished slightly higher Wednesday following recent sharp losses amid concerns about the Federal Reserve's further interest rate hikes and the US economic outlook. The local currency fell against the US dollar to hit a fresh yearly low.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index added 2.1 points, or 0.09 percent, to close at 2,465.07, ending a four-day losing streak. Trading volume was a bit slim at 354.97 million shares worth 6.26 trillion won ($4.64 billion), with gainers outpacing losers 629 to 547.
The index opened lower, tracking US losses, and had been in the negative terrain before ending with slight gains. On Wednesday, the index fell to the lowest level since April 6, when the Kospi finished at 2,459.23.
Foreigners and institutions sold a net 27.26 billion won and 79.77 won worth of shares, respectively, while retail investors bought a net 91.09 billion won worth of shares.
Investors were worried about the Fed's further interest rate hikes, while recent economic data pointed to an economic downturn.
"Volatility would continue for the time being amid global uncertainties. High interest rates, the sharp fall in households' extra savings and other factors have further stoked fears of an economic slowdown," Han Ji-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities Co., said.
Top-cap tech shares traded mixed on the Seoul bourse.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 0.29 percent to 68,400 won, and chip giant SK hynix lost 0.26 percent to 114,700 won.
But leading battery maker LG Energy Solution grew 0.21 percent to 476,500 won, and Posco Holdings added 0.38 percent to 535,000 won.
LG Chem retreated 1.68 percent to 496,500 won, and Samsung SDI sank 1.92 percent to 512,000 won.
Carmakers closed higher. Top automaker Hyundai Motor rose 0.21 percent to 191,100 won, and its affiliate Kia went up 0.62 percent to 81,400 won.
Biotech firm Samsung Biologics increased 0.15 percent to 681,000 won, and Celltrion jumped 1.9 percent to 139,200 won.
Internet giant Naver advanced 0.25 percent to 201,500 won, and Kakao, the operator of the popular mobile messenger KakaoTalk, climbed 0.46 percent to 43,950 won.
The local currency ended at 1,349.3 won against the US dollar, the lowest level for this year, down 0.8 won from the previous session's close.
South Korean stock, ETF, derivatives and commodity markets will all be closed during the extended Chuseok holiday starting Thursday through Oct. 3. (Yonhap)