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Seoul shares open lower ahead of Fed's rate hike decision

An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

Seoul shares opened lower Wednesday as investors remained jittery over the path that the Federal Reserve will take on monetary policy this week amid surging inflation.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 15.36 points, or 0.62 percent, to 2,477.61 points in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Overnight, US shares closed mixed ahead of the conclusion of the Fed's two-day interest rate-setting meeting on Wednesday (US time). Many expected the central bank to take the "giant step" of raising the key rate by 75 basis points for the first time since 1994.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 0.5 percent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite inched up 0.18 percent.

On Tuesday, the South Korean index fell to a 19-month low to extend its losing streak to a sixth session on concerns over larger-than-expected interest rate hikes down the road in the US and a global economic recession.

Most big-cap shares traded lower Wednesday, with tech shares leading the fall.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 0.97 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix lost 0.81 percent.

Major battery maker LG Energy Solution tumbled 1.88 percent, and chemical giant LG Chem fell 0.71 percent.

But carmakers and bio shares gathered ground.

Hyundai Motor jumped 3.5 percent, and its smaller affiliate Kia advanced 2.05 percent. Samsung Biologics added 0.77 percent and Celltrion remained unchanged.

The local currency traded at 1,290.05 won against the US dollar as of 9:15 a.m., down 3.65 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)

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