Seoul shares down slightly late Fri. morning amid BOK rate freeze

South Korean stocks traded slightly lower late Friday morning as the Bank of Korea froze its key rate for the 10th consecutive session. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index had dropped 3.66 points, or 0.14 percent, to 2,703.30 as of 11:20 a.m. Earlier in the day, the central bank kept its policy rate unchanged at 3.5 percent, saying its current restrictive stance will be kept for a sufficient period of time amid woes over high inflation and household debt. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 0.36 percent, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix gained 1.38 percent. Auto and financial shares also went south. Top automaker Hyundai Motor dropped 0.62 percent, its smaller affiliate Kia retreated 1.52 percent and its auto parts making affiliate Hyundai Mobis plunged 2.59 percent. KB Financial Group, Shinhan Financial Group and Hana Financial Group also tumbled 2.49 percent, 3.02 percent and 3.45 percent, respectively. IT shares, however, advanced. Internet portal operator Naver climbed 1.85 perce nt and Kakao, the operator of the country's top mobile messenger, increased 0.31 percent. Leading chemical producer LG Chem also jumped 3.23 percent. The local currency was trading at 1,368.70 won against the dollar, down 4.6 won from the previous session's close. Source: Yonhap News Agency

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