As investors exercised caution ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s rate-setting meeting later this week, South Korean equities began slightly higher on Tuesday. In the first 15 minutes of trade, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 2.56 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,577.28.
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, a two-day event beginning on Tuesday, is being closely watched by investors. Given the significant economic rebound of the world’s largest economy, the market expects the U.S. central bank to keep the present rates, but expectations are also high for one more rate hike this year.
Prior to the FOMC meeting, U.S. markets ended Monday with minimal change. The S&P 500 increased by 0.07 percent, the Nasdaq Composite increased by 0.01 percent, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased by 0.02 percent.
On Tuesday morning, big-cap stocks traded in Seoul in a varied manner. The top memory chip manufacturer in the world, Samsung Electronics (KS:005930), increased by 0.43 percent, while SK Hynix increased by 1.43 percent. Posco Future M, a division of the steel and chemical products company Posco Holdings, increased by 0.61 percent and 0.17 percent, respectively.
The auto industry also displayed a range of outcomes: Leading automaker Hyundai Motor (OTC:HYMTF) saw gains of 0.16 percent, although smaller subsidiary Kia and Hyundai Mobis saw declines of 0.13 percent and 0.64 percent, respectively.
While the top chemical maker, LG Chem, lost more than 1.5 percent over this time, the battery shares, including LG Energy Solution and Samsung SDI, remained unchanged.
In the midst of these market fluctuations, the local currency was up 3.1 won from Monday’s closing, trading at 1,321.30 won against the US dollar at 9:15 a.m.
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