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Seoul shares down late Wed. morning amid little progress on U.S. debt ceiling talks

Stocks 11:34 May 24, 2023

SEOUL, May 24 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks traded a tad lower late Wednesday morning following seven straight days of gains, as uncertainties linger over the United States' debt ceiling negotiations to avoid a federal default.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index had shed 3.43 points, or 0.13 percent, to 2,564.12 as of 11:20 a.m.

The index opened slightly lower, tracking Wall Street losses, and moved within a tight range, as institutional selling offset buying by individual investors.

Negotiations on the U.S. debt ceiling have dragged on, with nine days left till the June 1 deadline. U.S. President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said late Monday (local time) that they had productive talks on the debt ceiling, but no tangible progress has been made.

In Seoul, big-cap shares traded mixed.

Samsung Electronics remained unchanged, and SK hynix lost 1.02 percent.

Major bio firm Samsung Biologics lost 0.38 percent, but Celltrion inched up 0.17 percent.

No. 1 automaker Hyundai Motor decreased 0.24 percent while its affiliate Kia grew 0.34 percent.

Battery shares gathered ground to cap the fall of the index.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution jumped 1.22 percent, and LG Chem surged 1.53 percent. Samsung SDI also rose 0.28 percent.

Platform operators lost ground, with internet giant Naver sinking 3.07 percent and Kakao, the operator of the popular mobile messenger KakaoTalk, diving 1.9 percent.

The local currency was changing hands at 1,317.80 won against the greenback at 11:20 a.m., down 5.1 won from the previous session's close.


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