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Seoul stocks open nearly flat on financials losses

2018/06/15 09:34

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SEOUL, June 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks changed little Friday, as investors hunting for tech and utility bargains were offset by losses in financials.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 0.53 points, or 0.02 percent, to 2,424.01 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

The index opened higher on investors' bargain hunting after a heavy fall in the previous session over the U.S. interest rate decision.

But earlier gains were paired as financials moved down further on news that the European Central Bank (ECB) vowed to hold off on raising rates until next year.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average inched down 0.1 percent while tech-heavy Nasdaq composite surged 0.85 percent.

Tech blue chips gained ground, with market bellwether Samsung Electronics rising 0.41 percent, and chip giant SK hynix growing 0.81 percent. LG Chem surged 2.43 percent.

Construction companies and utilities also rose after big losses in the previous session. Hyundai Construction added 0.31 percent, and Korea Electric Power (KEPCO) surged 1.01 percent.

But the ECB's decision put a downward pressure on bank stocks. KB Financials tumbled 2.5 percent, and Woori Bank skidded 3.03 percent.

The South Korean currency was trading at 1,087.80 won against the U.S. dollar, down 4.7 won from the previous session's close.