Seoul stocks down late Fri. morning on recession woes

SEOUL– South Korean stocks traded lower late Friday morning as the U.S. Federal Reserve’s pledge to continue aggressive monetary tightening deepened concerns over a global economic slowdown.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) had fallen 5.92 points, or 0.25 percent, to 2,355.05 as of 11:20 a.m.

The market opened lower, after U.S. shares tumbled as weak retail sales data sparked fears that the Fed’s rate hikes are tipping the economy into a recession.

On Wednesday (U.S. time), the Fed downshifted to a 50 basis point hike from its previous 75 basis point increases. But Chair Jerome Powell said the Fed has “more work to do” to rein in inflation.

Some of the earlier losses, however, were pared on the Seoul bourse on individual and foreign buying.

Most blue chips traded lower.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 0.34 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix sank 1.87 percent.

Samsung SDI declined 1.8 percent, and LG Chem lost 0.93 percent.

But leading battery maker LG Energy Solution added 0.41 percent.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor remained flat, and its affiliate Kia inched down 0.16 percent.

Internet giant Naver fell 0.55 percent, and Kakao, the operator of the popular mobile messenger KakaoTalk, tumbled 1.63 percent.

Major bio shares traded mixed, with Samsung Biologics adding 0.49 percent and Celltrion skidding 0.56 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,307.95 won against the U.S. dollar as of 11:20 a.m., down 4.85 won from the previous session’s close.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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