SEOUL-- South Korean stocks traded 0.89 percent down late Monday morning on concerns over a global economic slowdown due mainly to the U.S. central bank's belt-tightening amid high inflation and the prolonged lockdown in China.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 23.66 points to 2,620.85 as of 11:20 a.m.
The market opened lower and extended losses further to nearly a two-month low.
Analysts said investors were wary of a global economic recession, as the Federal Reserve has taken steps to bring surging inflation under control. Last week, the Fed raised its benchmark interest rate by a half-percentage point and indicated more 50-basis point rate hikes.
Adding to wo es are the ongoing conflict surrounding Ukraine as well as the prolonged lockdown of major Chinese cities, including Shanghai and Beijing.
In Seoul, batteries and auto shares traded lower to drag down the index.
Top battery maker LG Energy Solution sank 1.62 percent, and Samsung SDI tumbled 2.27 percent.
No. 1 carmaker Hyundai Motor lost 0.27 percent, and Kia fell 1.91 percent.
Major chemical firm LG Chem shed 1.35 percent, and top steelmaker POSCO Holdings declined 1.57 percent.
But Samsung Electronics inched up 0.15 percent and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix advanced 0.93 percent on bargain hunting.
The local currency was changing hands at 1,274.80 won against the greenback as of 11:20 a.m., down 2.1 won from the previous session's close and hitting the lowest level for this year.
Source: Yonhap News Agency