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Seoul stocks down late Thurs. morning on Fed chief's tapering comment, Evergrande fallout

SEOUL, Sept. 23 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks traded lower late Thursday morning after the three-day Chuseok holiday, following comments by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s chief that it could start tapering its stimulus as early as November, as well as growing woes over a default of a giant Chinese real estate developer.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 16.71 points, or 0.53 percent, to 3,123.8 points as of 11:20 a.m.

Stocks erased part of earlier losses after dipping 1 percent, but investor sentiment remained weak.

Investors digested the overnight U.S. FOMC meeting results that it could begin reducing its asset-buying program in November and finish the process by next year.

Investors also kept a close eye on the debt fiasco at China’s Evergrande Group, one of the country’s largest property developers, that has increased volatility in the global financial markets for the past few days.

Top cap Samsung Electronics gained 0.26 percent, but No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix retreated 0.47 percent.

Internet portal operator Naver moved down 0.99 percent, and pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics decreased 1.07 percent.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem jumped 4.56 percent, while top automaker Hyundai Motor declined 0.96 percent. Top bank stock Kakao Bank lost 1.62 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,183.9 won against the U.S. dollar, down 8.9 won from the previous session’s close.

jwc@yna.co.kr
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