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Seoul shares open lower on renewed recession woes

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)

South Korean stocks got off to a weak start Thursday, as the latest US economic data reignited fears of a recession.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index lost 2.89 points, or 0.12 percent, to 2,365.43 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

US retail sales and wholesale prices fell more than expected in December, according to its government data released Wednesday Production at factories also slid more than expected, sending major US stock indexes sharply lower.

Market sentiment was hurt further after key Federal Reserve officials reaffirmed the need for more interest rate hikes to bring inflation under control despite signs of an economic slowdown.

In Seoul, auto and IT service stocks dragged down the Kospi. Top automaker Hyundai Motor fell 1.5 percent and its smaller affiliate Kia lost 1 percent.

Internet portal provider Naver retreated more than 1 percent and platform giant Kakao also lost about 1.3 percent.

Tech heavyweight Samsung Electronics inched up about 0.2 percent, with No. 1 battery maker LG Energy Solution also gaining 0.3 percent.

The local currency had been trading at 1,236.50 won against the US dollar as of 9:15 a.m., up 0.9 won from Wednesday's close. (Yonhap)

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