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Seoul shares open lower on US rate hike woes

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 weak start Thursday, tracking overnight losses on Wall Street, on lingering concerns over the US Federal Reserve's aggressive policy tightening and a global economic slowdown.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 39.89 points, or 1.61 percent, to trade at 2,432.16 points as of 9:15 a.m.

The stock market has lost steam in recent sessions, after Fed Chair Jerome Powell stressed his determination to tame inflation during the annual Jackson Hole economic symposium last week though it would "bring some pain to households and businesses."

Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.88 percent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq shed 0.56 percent.

In Seoul, stocks fell across the board, with hard-hit tech and bio shares leading the fall.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 1.68 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix dropped 2.42 percent.

Leading car battery maker LG Energy Solution shed 1.19 percent, and top chemical firm LG Chem retreated 2.85 percent.

Samsung Biologics, the biotech arm of South Korea's Samsung Group, fell 2.28 percent, and pharmaceutical giant Celltrion shed 2.11 percent.

Carmakers also decreased. Hyundai Motor went down 1.28 percent, and its smaller affiliate Kia lost 1.86 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,346.35 won against the US dollar, down 8.75 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)

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