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Seoul shares open sharply down on US jobs data, rate hike woes

Oct. 4, 2023 - 09:37 By Yonhap
An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Sept. 27 (Yonhap)

South Korean stocks opened sharply lower Wednesday, tracking an overnight slump on Wall Street, as US jobs data deepened concerns about further interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index shed 47.43 points, or 1.92 percent, to 2,417.64 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

The secondary KOSDAQ index lost more than 2.2 percent in the first 15 minutes.

Overnight, US shares ended markedly lower as an increase in available job openings in August strengthened speculation the Federal Reserve will go for another rate hike later this year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 1.29 percent, S&P 500 fell 1.37 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite tumbled 1.87 percent.

On the Seoul bourse, most of the top-cap shares started in negative terrain.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics sank 1.61 percent and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix dipped 0.09 percent.

Other tech stocks also lost ground.

Internet portal operator Naver retreated 2.33 percent and Kakao, the operator of the country's top mobile messenger, plunged 3.41 percent.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution slid 3.78 percent and its smaller rival Samsung SDI shot down 6.15 percent. LG Chem lost more than 1.4 percent.

Posco and its affiliates were also weak, with steel giant Posco Holdings down 2.8 percent and its battery component making affiliate Posco Future M down 4.87 percent.

Auto shares were mixed, with Hyundai Motor losing 0.99 percent, while its affiliate Kia gained 0.49 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,361.30 won against the US dollar at 9:15 a.m., down 12 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)