South Korean stocks got off to a weak start Monday, tracking the decline in US major indexes late last week, on renewed worries over the increasing likelihood of another sharp rate hike by the US Federal Reserve.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 9.38 points, or 0.38 percent, to 2,481.42 in the first 15 minutes of trading.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq ended lower on Friday (US time), after the latest US nonfarm payroll data showed employment expansion in July that was far larger than expected. The upbeat data raised the possibility that the Fed will push ahead with another 0.75 percentage point rate hike at its next meeting in September.
In Seoul, tech blue-chips and major financial stocks led KOSPI's decline. Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics slipped about 0.7 percent and top internet portal operator Naver lost 2.8 percent.
KB Financial, a leading banking firm, also fell about 0.2 percent.
In contrast, battery maker Samsung SDI gained 0.8 percent and top refiner SK Innovation also rose more than 2 percent.
The local currency was trading at 1,304.00 won against the US dollar as of 9:15 a.m., down 5.7 won from Friday's close. (Yonhap)