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Seoul shares open higher amid hope for Fed's rate hike pause

By Yonhap

Published : Sept. 15, 2023 - 09:47

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(Yonhap) (Yonhap)

South Korean stocks started higher Friday as US economic data cemented bets the Federal Reserve will keep its key interest rate unchanged next week.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 6.78 points, or 0.26 percent, to 2,579.67 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

All three US stock indexes rallied Thursday (US time) as strong economic data, including retail sales and producer prices, fueled expectations over a pause in the Fed's rate hike march.

Also, the US consumer price index rose 3.7 percent in August from a year earlier due to high-flying oil prices, but core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, slowed to an annual 4.3 percent.

In Seoul, large-cap stocks traded mixed.

Samsung Electronics, the world's largest memory chipmaker, lost 0.14 percent, and its rival SK hynix stayed unchanged..

Top carmaker Hyundai Motor dropped 0.63 percent, but its affiliate Kia gained 0.25 percent.

Battery makers gained ground, with industry leader LG Energy Solution adding 0.2 percent and its smaller rival Samsung SDI rising 0.34 percent.

Steel giant POSCO Holdings jumped 2.71 percent, and its chemical materials making unit POSCO Future M gained 1 percent.

Internet portal operator Naver added 0.44 percent, and Kakao, operator of the popular mobile messenger, gained 0.52 percent.

Bio stocks, however, were among early losers, with Samsung Biologics dipping 0.14 percent and Celltrion retreating 0.47 percent.

Major oil refiner SK Innovation also lost almost 1.3 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,328.70 won against the U.S. dollar at 9:15 a.m., down 3.0 won from Thursday's close.