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Seoul shares open lower amid recession woes; Korean won sharply down

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

Seoul shares opened lower Friday amid concerns over more aggressive interest rate hikes by central banks to tackle inflation and a global economic slowdown.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index fell 7.96 points, or 0.34 percent, to trade at 2,314.36 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Institutions and foreigners sold a combined 109 billion won ($82 million) worth of stocks, exceeding individuals' stock purchases valued at 101.7 billion won.

Foreigners offloaded some risky assets to purchase safe havens, such as the dollar, driving up the value of the greenback.

Investors await China's gross domestic product data due later in the day, while keeping an eye on whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates by a percentage point at this month's policy meeting.

In Seoul, tech stocks were traded in the positive territory, with market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. rising 1.6 percent and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. gaining 2.2 percent.

Among decliners, leading carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. fell 1.6 percent, national flag carrier Korean Air Lines Co. declined 1.4 percent and state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp. shed 0.5 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,320.40 won against the U.S. dollar, down 8.30 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)

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