South Korean stocks opened lower Friday, as investors took a breather after recent rallies fueled by optimism that the US Federal Reserve may slow the pace of interest rate hikes.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index fell 21.94 points, or 0.88 percent, to 2,457.90 in the first 15 minutes of trading.
Latest US data showed its manufacturing contracted last month for the first time in 2 1/2 years, with a measurement of consumer spending having risen at a slower-than-expected pace in October, an indication that the Fed's aggressive monetary tightening is cooling the economy.
Stocks have rallied this week as Fed Chair Jerome Powell and other Fed policymakers suggested the central bank is heading for a slowdown of rate hikes, after four successive 75 basis-point increases to tame runaway inflation.
In Seoul, most major stocks lost ground across the board. Tech heavyweight Samsung Electronics slid 1.8 percent and top battery maker LG Energy Solution fell 1 percent.
Steel giant Posco Holdings lost 0.7 percent and Kia, the smaller affiliate of Hyundai Motor, sank about 1 percent.
The local currency was trading at 1,300.90 won against the US dollar as of 9:15 a.m., down 1.2 won from Thursday's close. (Yonhap)