Seoul shares open lower on U.S. tech slide

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South Korean stocks got off to a weak start Thursday as tech shares took a cue from overnight losses in U.S. heavyweights, like Nvidia and Microsoft.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) retreated 8.91 points, or 0.36 percent, to 2,486.47 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Overnight, all three major U.S. indexes lost ground despite jobs data that reinforced expectations the Federal Reserve may start cutting its rates early next year.

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AI chip leader Nvidia sank 2.3 percent, while Microsoft and Amazon lost more than 1 percent.

In Seoul, semiconductor and tech shares dragged down the KOSPI.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 0.28 percent, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix gained 0.72 percent.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution decreased 0.59 percent, while its smaller rivals Samsung SDI and POSCO Future M added 0.81 percent and 3.14 percent, respectively.

Auto and IT stocks lost ground.

Top carmaker Hyundai Motor retreated 0.66 percent, and its smaller affiliate Kia dropped 1.18 percent.

Internet portal operator Naver also dipped 1.17 percent, and Kakao, the operator of the country’s top mobile messenger, pulled back 0.59 percent.

Bio shares also started in negative territory, with Samsung Biologics dropping 0.57 percent and Celltrion falling 1.5 percent.

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The local currency was trading at 1,317.50 won against the U.S. dollar, down 4.4 won from the previous session’s close.

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