Seoul shares start higher on eased rate hike woes

South Korean stocks started higher Thursday as concerns over a further rate hike by the Federal Reserve were eased despite higher-than-expected U.S. inflation data.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 12.99 points, or 0.51 percent, to 2,549.69 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

The U.S. consumer price index rose 3.7 percent in August from a year earlier due to high-flying oil prices.

But analyst said the U.S. central bank is expected to keep its key rate steady at the upcoming rate-setting meeting next week as the inflation data was highly anticipated.

In Seoul, tech and auto shares led the early increase.

Samsung Electronics, the world's largest memory chipmaker, added 0.14 percent, and its rival SK hynix climbed 0.42 percent.

Top carmaker Hyundai Motor rose 0.32 percent, and its affiliate Kia gained 0.51 percent on the management-labor management wage agreement earlier this week.

But oil refineries were among the losers, with industry leader SK Innovation falling 0.5 percent and No. 3 S-Oil losing 1.51 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,327.90 won against the U.S. dollar at 9:15 a.m., up 2.1 won from Wednesday's close.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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