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Seoul shares open higher ahead of BOK rate decision

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

Seoul shares opened higher Thursday as investors await a rate hike decision by the Bank of Korea later in the day.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index had added 18.14 points, or 0.75 percent, to 2,436.15 as of 9:15 a.m.

The central bank is widely expected to raise its policy rate by 25 basis points to 3.25 percent, slowing its tightening pace as the economy shows signs of losing momentum.

Overnight, US stocks finished higher, buoyed by a dovish stance by US Federal Reserve officials shown in the minutes from their November meeting that they might soon slow down rate increases, aimed at tamping down high inflation, while avoiding hurting economic growth too much.

The S&P 500 rose 0.59 percent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 0.28 percent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.99 percent.

In Seoul, most large cap shares got off to a good start.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics inched up 0.49 percent, SK hynix also rose 1.17 percent, and portal operator Naver added 2.48 percent. Major chemical firm LG Chem advanced 0.57 percent.

Battery maker LG Energy Solution climbed 1.96 percent, and Samsung Biologics, the biotech arm of South Korea's Samsung Group, went up 0.34 percent.

The local currency was trading hands at 1,339.60 won against the dollar as of 9:15 a.m., up 12.2 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)

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