Seoul shares open higher on easing uncertainty over Fed rate hikes

On Thursday, an electronic chart showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) in a trading room at Hana Bank’s headquarters in Seoul. (Yonhap)

South Korean stocks opened higher on Thursday as the US Federal Reserve raised its benchmark rate by a widely expected 0.75 percentage points.

Korea’s composite stock price benchmark added 16.88 points, or 0.7%, to trade at 2,432.1 points in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Concluding a two-day meeting, the U.S. central bank on Wednesday (US time) announced a three-quarter-point rate hike to put its key rate in a range of 2.25-2.5%, the most high level since 2018, to curb inflation.

But Fed Chairman Jerome Powell hinted that this could slow the pace of aggressive monetary tightening at some point.

The US stock market welcomed the latest developments. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.37% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 4.06%.

In Seoul, most large-cap stocks traded higher, with the technology sector leading the market advance.

Market giant Samsung Electronics rose 0.65% and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix added 0.5%.

Battery giant LG Energy Solution jumped 1.14% and Samsung SDI 0.36%.

Bio shares also gained ground, with Samsung Biologics rising 2.02% and Celltrion rising 0.53%.

But major automaker Hyundai Motor lost 1.02% and LG Chem lost 0.88%.

The local currency was trading at 1,308.75 won against the US dollar, up 4.55 won from the close of the previous session. (Yonhap)

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