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Seoul shares open slightly higher amid persistent rate hike concerns

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)

South Korean stocks opened marginally higher Friday amid persistent woes over the US Federal Reserve's monetary tightening.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 3.85 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,527.63 in the first 15 minutes of trading. The index started 0.16 percent lower at the opening bell.

Investors digested the softer-than-expected US consumer prices for July, released Wednesday (US time), as a sign of cooling inflation that raised expectations that the Federal Reserve will slow its aggressive rate hikes.

But uncertainty still persists as to how far the Fed will go in raising the interest rate, although the market's general forecast has been leaning toward a 0.75 percentage-point hike. The next policy meeting is set for September.

In Seoul, shares traded mixed. Top-cap Samsung Electronics was up about 0.4 percent, and platform giant Kakao lost more than 1 percent.

Financial stocks rose, with KB Financial gaining nearly 2 percent and Shinhan Financial adding almost 1 percent.

But top battery maker LG Energy Solution slipped 1.3 percent. Biotech company Samsung Biologics fell about 1 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,305.10 won against the US dollar as of 9:15 a.m., down 2.1 won from Thursday's close. (Yonhap)

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