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Seoul shares open lower amid rate concerns

March 24, 2023 - 09:30 By Yonhap
An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Friday. (Yonhap)

South Korean stocks opened lower Friday, despite Wall Street gains overnight in hopes that the US Federal Reserve is nearing the end of its rate hike cycle.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index dropped 4.88 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,419.6 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Overnight, US shares finished higher after traders placed their bets on the Fed possibly winding down its aggressive monetary tightening soon amid recession woes, after its nine consecutive rate hikes in the span of a year to fight inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.23 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 1.01 percent, and the S&P 500 inched up 0.3 percent.

In Seoul, most big-cap shares opened mixed amid global market uncertainty stemming from the Fed's future path of interest rates.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics climbed 0.64 percent, and chip giant SK hynix gained 1.69 percent.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution declined 1.22 percent, and Samsung SDI went down 2.41 percent. LG Chem also inched down 1.54 percent.

Carmakers also lost ground, with No. 1 automaker Hyundai Motor dipping 0.5 percent and its affiliate Kia shedding 0.38 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,287.2 won against the US dollar as of 9:15 a.m., down 8.9 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)