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Seoul shares almost flat late Wed. morning, erasing earlier gains

Stocks 11:36 May 18, 2022

SEOUL, May 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares traded almost unchanged late Wednesday morning amid lingering uncertainty over higher inflation and combative monetary tightening in major economies.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 1.39 points, or 0.05 percent, to 2,621.83 as of 11:20 a.m.

The market opened higher on Wall Street gains but pared earlier gains.

Overnight, U.S. stocks closed higher on a rally in tech stocks in the face of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's hawkish comments.

Powell said the Fed was prepared to act aggressively to bring down inflation.

"If that involves moving past broadly understood levels of neutral, we won't hesitate to do that," he said in a livestreamed interview by The Wall Street Journal.

The S&P500 rose 2.02 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite went up 2.76 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 1.34 percent.

In Seoul, large-cap stocks were trading mixed.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 0.44 percent, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix added 1.33 percent and the country's largest chemical company, LG Chem, added 1.78 percent.

Among decliners, major battery maker LG Energy Solution lost 0.24 percent, and Kakao, the operator of ubiquitous Kakao Talk, shed 0.24 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,269.00 won against the dollar, up 6.00 won from the previous session's close.

jaeyeon.woo@yna.co.kr
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