SEOUL, Jan. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks opened steeply lower Friday, tracking an overnight stock plunge on Wall Street as U.S. Federal Reserve officials signaled aggressive policies to rein in the rising inflation pressure.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) declined 26.43 points, or 0.89 percent, to 2,935.66 points in the first 15 minutes of trading.
The retreat was led by losses in tech stocks, usually more sensitive to rate hikes compared with other sectors.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite plunged 2.51 percent overnight, largely affected by hawkish comments by multiple Federal Reserve officials who support the U.S. central bank's March rate hike.
In Seoul, top cap Samsung Electronics edged down 0.13 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix decreased 0.77 percent.
Internet portal operator Naver retreated 2.73 percent, leading chemical firm LG Chem fell 2.65 percent, and top automaker Hyundai Motor lost 0.48 percent.
The local currency was trading at 1,188.55 won against the U.S. dollar, down 1.05 won from the previous session's close.
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