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Seoul shares open higher; Korean won hits 13-yr low

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

Seoul shares opened slightly higher Thursday after another market rout the previous session amid growing woes over an economic slowdown.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 4.67 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,327.68 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Overnight, Wall Street closed lower after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged the central bank's aggressive rate hikes could cause an economic downturn.

The US central bank raised its policy rate by 0.75 percentage point last week, its steepest increase since 1994.

"It's not our intended outcome at all, but it's certainly a possibility," he said during a congressional hearing. Achieving a soft landing for the economy without a recession has become "significantly more challenging," he added.

The S&P 500 declined 0.13 percent, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.15 percent. The Nasdaq Composite shed 0.15 percent.

In Seoul, trading was mixed.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 0.17, and Hyundai Motor gained 0.58 percent. Samsung Biologics, the biotech arm of South Korea's Samsung Group, went up 0.24 percent.

No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix lost 0.11 percent, while battery maker LG Energy Solution shed 0.75 percent

The local currency was trading at 1,300.20 won against the US dollar as of 9:15 a.m., down 2.90 won from the previous session's close and hitting a 13-year low. (Yonhap)

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