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Seoul shares open higher after Fed minutes; Korean won losing ground

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)

South Korean stocks opened higher Thursday, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street as the US Federal Reserve's latest minutes reaffirming its intent to rein in inflation through big rate hikes removed uncertainty for investors.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 23.04 points, or 1.01 percent, to 2,315.05 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

The Fed minutes of its June policy meeting, released Wednesday (US time), showed that the Fed needs to raise the interest rate by another 0.5-0.75 percentage point this month and an even larger rate hike could be necessary if inflation persists.

The Fed officials also noted that a sharp rate hike is still appropriate even if it means it would slow the economy.

In Seoul, large-cap tech and auto stocks led the market advance, with top-cap Samsung Electronics jumping 1.6 percent and chip giant SK hynix adding 1.6 percent. Top automaker Hyundai Motor was up about 0.9 percent.

Financial and telecom stocks lost ground. Major banking firm Shinhan Financial fell more than 1 percent and mobile carrier SK Telecom slid nearly 1 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,307.00 won against the US dollar as of 9:15 a.m., down 0.7 won from Wednesday's close. (Yonhap)

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