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Seoul shares open lower on rate hikes, recession woes

An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)
An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

Seoul shares got off to a weak start Tuesday, tracking a sharp plunge on Wall Street, on concerns over more aggressive monetary tightening by the United States to tame inflation and its impact on global economic growth.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 22.72 points, or 0.91 percent, to 2,481.79 points in the first 15 minutes of trading.

On Monday, the index dipped to a 19-month low amid growing woes over sharper-than-expected rate hikes

Overnight, US shares plunged ahead of the Federal Reserve's two-day interest rate-setting meeting from Tuesday (US time) amid the prospect of its "giant step" by raising the key rate by more than a half percentage point in the face of the sharpest gain in consumer prices for May since 1981.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 2.79 percent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite dived 4.68 percent.

In Seoul, most big-cap shares lost ground.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 0.48 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix declined 0.3 percent.

Chemical giant LG Chem fell 0.71 percent, and No. 1 steelmaker POSCO sank 1.87 percent.

Hyundai Motor tumbled 2.0 percent, and its smaller affiliate Kia went down 1.01 percent.

But major battery maker LG Energy Solution advanced 1.33 percent, and Samsung Biologics rose 0.51 percent.

The local currency traded at 1,290.70 won against the US dollar as of 9:15 a.m., down 6.7 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)

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