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Seoul shares open lower ahead of Fed meeting

Finance 09:36 December 15, 2021

SEOUL, Dec. 15 (Yonhap) -- Seoul shares opened lower Wednesday, tracking losses on Wall Street, as investors eyed the Federal Reserve's rate decision this week.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 9.40 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,978.55 points in the first 15 minutes of trading.

On Tuesday (U.S. time), the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.3 percent to 35,544.18, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite slid 1.1 percent to 15,237.64.

Investors are waiting on cues from the two-day Fed meeting that ends on Wednesday to reorganize their portfolios amid the extended COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fed is expected to unveil a quicker tapering of its massive bond purchases, paving the way for sooner-than-expected interest rate hikes next year.

Stocks were mixed across the board.

Top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. fell 0.2 percent to 210,000 won, leading steelmaker POSCO dropped 1.4 percent to 284,500 won, state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp. shed 0.5 percent to 21,500 won, and dominant tobacco firm KT&G Corp. was down 3 percent to 83,400 won.

KT&G stocks declined on the company's plan to suspend its operations in the United States due to tougher regulations.

Among gainers, market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. rose 0.1 percent 77,100 won, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. climbed 0.4 percent to 121,500 won, and national flag carrier Korean Air Lines Co. were up 0.7 percent to 29,200 won.

The local currency was trading at 1,185.05 won against the U.S. dollar, down 2.45 won from the previous session's close.
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