Seoul shares down late Wed. morning amid global uncertainties

SEOUL-- South Korean stocks traded lower Wednesday morning as investors shed big-cap shares amid growing concerns over the global economic slowdown due to the war in Ukraine and the U.S. central bank's monetary tightening.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 8.58 points, or 0.32 percent, to 2,710.31 as of 11:20 a.m.

The index opened lower despite overnight gains on the U.S. market on heavy sell-offs by institutions and foreign investors.

Analysts said investors are wary of global economic uncertainties. The International Monetary Fund forecast that global growth would slow to 3.6 percent this year, from 6.1 percent last year and 0.8 percentage points lower than its January forecast, citing downside risks stemming from the ongoing crisis surrounding Ukraine.

Adding to woes is the Federal Reserve's belt-tightening, as Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said he would not rule out a 75-basis-point interest rate hike this year to raise it to about 3.5 percent.

Most big-cap shares lost ground on the Seoul bourse, with tech and bio shares leading the fall following gains in the previous session.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics tumbled 1.04 percent, and SK hynix shed 1.33 percent. Key battery maker LG Energy Solution fell 0.46 percent.

Major bio firm Samsung Biologics sank 1.58 percent, and Celltrion decreased 0.62 percent.

But carmakers traded bullish, with top carmaker Hyundai Motor advancing 0.83 percent and its affiliate Kia soaring 2.30 percent.

The South Korean currency was trading at 1,238.70 won against the U.S. dollar, down 1.8 won from the previous session's close.

Source: Yonhap News Agency