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Seoul shares open sharply higher on improved US inflation data

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 got off to a strong start Thursday, tracking an overnight rally on Wall Street after the release of better-than-expected inflation data that raised expectations that the US Federal Reserve could slow the pace of monetary tightening.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) jumped 31.87 points, or 1.28 percent, to 2,512.75 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

The US consumer price index (CPI) rose 8.5 percent in July, a slowdown from the 9.1 percent gain for June that marked the highest in four decades. It was also slower than market expectations.

Elevated inflation would have reinforced the Fed's case for increasing borrowing costs to bring price increases under control following rate hikes in June and July.

The easing of the July US inflation sent Wall Street rallying on Wednesday (US time), with the S&P 500 hitting a three-month high, Nasdaq rising 2.89 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 1.63 percent.

In Seoul, major shares opened higher across the board, led by tech blue chips that are heavily influenced by external factors. Market behemoth Samsung Electronics rose 0.7 percent, and top battery maker LG Energy Solution gained more than 2 percent. Leading refiner SK Innovation also soared about 2.6 percent.

Biopharmaceutical giant Celltrion, in contrast, was down 0.2 percent. Major shipyard Hyundai Heavy Industries also fell 0.7 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,299.50 won against the US dollar as of 9:15 a.m., up 10.9 won from Wednesday's close. (Yonhap)

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