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Seoul shares open lower after Fed's rate decision

Sept. 21, 2023 - 09:44 By Yonhap
An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Wednesday (Yonhap)

South Korean stocks started lower Thursday after the US Federal Reserve kept its benchmark lending rate unchanged while noting it may push for an additional rate hike later this year.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index lost 12.91 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,546.83 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Overnight, US stocks closed lower, with the S&P 500 dropping almost 1 percent and the Nasdaq Composite plunging 1.53 percent amid a slide in tech giants, including Apple Inc. and Tesla Inc.

The Fed left its key rate steady at between 5.25 percent and 5.50 percent after the two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting, but raised the possibility of another rate hike later this year in its pursuit of robust employment and price stability.

"We are prepared to raise rates further if appropriate, and we intend to hold policy at a restrictive level until we are confident that inflation is moving down sustainably toward our objectives," Fed chair Jerome Powell said.

In Seoul, Samsung Electronics, the No. 1 memory chipmaker in the world, gained 0.14 percent, while its rival SK hynix lost 1.36 percent.

Battery shares started in negative terrain, with LG Energy Solution and Samsung SDI both dropping more than 1.2 percent.

Automakers also lost ground.

Top carmaker Hyundai Motor retreated 0.62 percent and its smaller affiliate Kia went down 0.49 percent.

Steel giant Posco Holdings lost 1.01 percent, its battery component making unit Posco Future M retreated 0.61 percent, and its energy trading unit Posco International plunged 2.83 percent.

Leading chemical producer LG Chem also shot down more than 3 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,334.70 won against the dollar at 9:15 a.m., down 4.6 won from Wednesday's close. (Yonhap)