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Seoul shares open higher after Powell's comments

Feb. 8, 2023 - 09:42 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)

Seoul shares opened higher Wednesday, tracking gains on Wall Street, as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell expected that this year may see a significant drop in inflation.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 21.12 points, or 0.86 percent, to 2,472.83 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.8 percent to 34,156.69 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.9 percent to 12,113.79.

Powell said disinflation has begun, though further rate hikes will likely be needed to combat inflation if the job market remains strong.

The Fed raised rates by 25 basis points last week to a band of 4.5 percent to 4.75 percent.

In Seoul, tech and auto stocks were lead gainers.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. rose 1.1 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. climbed 1.4 percent. Top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. gained 0.1 percent, and state utility Korea Electric Power Corp. was up 0.1 percent.

Among decliners, leading budget carrier Jeju Air Co. fell 1.4 percent, Hanjin KAL Corp., parent firm of Korean Air Co., declined 0.6 percent, and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. shed 0.9 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,252.5 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2.8 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)