Seoul: Shares end at 2-month low ahead of US Fed meet

South Korean shares fell on Monday (Sep 19) to their lowest in more than 2 months, as investors refrained from making big bets ahead of the US Federal Reserve's policy meeting. The Korean won weakened, while the benchmark bond yield rose.

The benchmark Kospi ended down 27.12 points or 1.14 per cent at 2,355.66, extending losses to a fourth session. The index touched its lowest close since Jul 15.

The Fed is scheduled to hold its monetary policy meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, with investors expecting another rate hike of at least 75 basis points.

"Hopes for next year's rate cuts may fade away after the meeting, while growth outlook is likely to be downgraded, both of which will be disappointing for the stock market," said Huh Jae-hwan, analyst at Eugene Investment and Securities.

Among heavyweights, technology giant Samsung Electronics rose 0.36 per cent, but peer SK Hynix fell 1.32 per cent and battery maker LG Energy Solution dropped 5.63 per cent.

Only 143 shares advanced among the total traded issues of 931.

Foreigners were net sellers on the main board, though marginally by 1.4 billion won (S$1.4 million).

The won was last quoted at 1,393.6 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.4 per cent lower than its previous close.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted down 0.6 per cent at 1,393.5 per dollar, while in non-deliverable forward trading its 1-month contract was quoted at 1,392.5.

In money and debt markets, September futures on 3-year treasury bonds fell 0.04 point to 103.53 in late afternoon trade.

The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by 1.2 basis points to 3.777 per cent, while the benchmark 10-year yield climbed 4 basis points to 3.812 per cent. REUTERS

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