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Seoul stocks tumble on U.S. rates hike

2018/06/14 09:34

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SEOUL, June 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks got off to a weak start Thursday, as the U.S. central bank raised benchmark interest rates and signaled more hawkish monetary plans.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 17.50 points, or 0.71 percent, to 2,451.33 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

After holding a two-day policy meeting, the Federal Reserve decided to raise its federal funds rate by a quarter percentage point to a range of 1.75 percent to 2 percent.

Though it was a widely expected move, the Fed hinted at tougher belt-tightening, with more than half of its officials expecting two more rate hikes this year instead of one. The news brought down the Dow Jones industrial average 0.47 percent and tech-heavy Nasdaq composite 0.11 percent.

Tracking the Wall Street losses, most blue chips in Seoul tumbled.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics skidded 0.91 percent, and chip giant SK hynix fell 0.79 percent.

Carmakers and construction firms also came under heavy downward pressure, with top automaker Hyundai Motor sinking 1.42 percent, and Hyundai Construction collapsing 4.6 percent.

The South Korean currency was trading at 1,083.00 won against the U.S. dollar, down 5.8 won from the previous session's close.

graceoh@yna.co.kr

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