Seoul shares open lower on strong U.S. data

SEOUL, Seoul shares opened lower Tuesday on speculation that stronger than expected data may prod the Federal Reserve to push back its rate-cut timetable.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 10.12 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,737.74 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index released overnight stayed at 50.3 last month, the highest since September 2022 despite a prolonged tightening mode by the Fed.

The Fed has been expected to cut rates starting in June this year, but the U.S. central bank may delay its rate cut timing given still higher inflation and a strong economy.

In Seoul, large-cap stocks were mixed.

Leading carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. fell 1.5 percent, national flag carrier Korean Air Co. declined 0.9 percent, leading steelmaker POSCO Holdings shed 0.6 percent and state utility Korea Electric Power Corp. was down 1.8 percent.

Among gainers, market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. rose 1.5 percent,
major chipmaker SK hynix Inc. climbed 0.1 percent and leading battery maker LG Energy Solution was up 0.4 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,354.85 won against the dollar, down 5.45 won from the previous session’s close.

Source: Yonhap News Agency