Seoul shares sharply down late Fri. morning on rate hike woes

SEOUL– Seoul stocks extended their losses late Friday morning amid expectations of further rate hikes in the United States.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) had fallen 40.44 points, or 1.72 percent, to 2,316.29 points as of 11:20 a.m.

Stocks opened lower, tracking overnight falls on Wall Street.

Strong U.S. economic data, including estimate-beating growth and consumption, added to the prospects that the U.S. Federal Reserve may continue to raise interest rates next year in an effort to rein in high inflation.

Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.05 percent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite retreated 2.18 percent.

In Seoul, losses among big tech led the KOSPI’s fall. Chipmakers fared poorly on the outlook for less demand for chips in the global market next year.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics declined 2.03 percent, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix dropped 1.64 percent, and leading automaker Hyundai Motor decreased 0.63 percent.

Major battery maker LG Energy Solution dipped 2.23 percent, with chemical giant LG Chem losing 2.4 percent. Internet portal operator Naver slid 2.71 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,282.5 won against the U.S. dollar as of 11:20 a.m., down 6.3 won from the previous day’s close.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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