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Seoul stocks deepen losses late Fri. morning amid rate hike concerns

Stocks 11:29 January 14, 2022

SEOUL, Jan. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks deepened their losses late Friday morning amid concerns about fast rate hikes at home and in the United States.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) had declined 44.06 points, or 1.49 percent, to 2,918.03 points as of 11:20 a.m.

Stocks opened steeply lower, 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 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.

The Bank of Korea raised its key policy rate by 0.25 percentage point to 1.25 percent, a return to the pre-pandemic level in 22 months.

Most large caps traded lower in Seoul.

Top cap Samsung Electronics shed 1.03 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix decreased 2.7 percent.

Internet portal operator Naver retreated 2.73 percent, leading chemical firm LG Chem fell 3.31 percent, and top automaker Hyundai Motor lost 0.48 percent.

Bio giant Celltrion slumped 6.67 percent, with steelmaker POSCO dipping 2.45 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,188.3 won against the U.S. dollar, down 0.8 won from the previous session's close.

jwc@yna.co.kr
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