Seoul stocks up late Fri. morning on eased banking jitters

SEOUL, March 17 (Yonhap) -- Seoul stocks traded higher late Friday morning as investors' jitters eased on news that a group of banks would throw a lifeline to a troubled U.S. bank.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) had added 15.17 points, or 0.64 percent, to 2,393.08 as of 11:20 a.m.

Overnight, Wall Street finished up after 11 American banks vowed to inject US$30 billion into the ailing San Francisco-based First Republic Bank, reassuring investors of the financial soundness of the U.S. banking system.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.17 percent, the S&P 500 added 1.76 percent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 2.48 percent.

In Seoul, the stock market traded up late Friday morning, after the index hit as high as 2,405.35 right after the market opened.

Top-cap Samsung Electronics advanced 1.67 percent, and chipmaker SK hynix jumped 6.08 percent.

Internet giant Naver climbed 0.71 percent, and Kakao, the operator of South Korea's dominant messaging app, KakaoTalk, rose 0.5 percent.

Battery makers lost ground, with LG Energy Solutions edging down 3.3 percent and Samsung SDI losing 4.06 percent. Chemical giant LG Chem declined 4.25 percent.

The local currency was changing hands at 1,304.5 won against the greenback as of 11:20 a.m., up 8.5 won from the previous session's close.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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