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Seoul: Won, stocks slip after Fed's decision; tech shares rally

[SEOUL] The South Korean won slumped to an almost one-week low and Seoul shares were down slightly on Thursday morning, after the Federal Reserve's decision to trim its portfolio and a signal for a possible rate hike by year-end.

The won was quoted at 1,132.6 against the US dollar as of 0232 GMT, down 0.4 per cent versus Wednesday's close of 1,128.3.

"The Fed seemed to be putting more weight on normalisation of US rates while focusing on still low inflation," said Paik Seokhyun, a foreign exchange analyst at Shinhan Bank.

South Korea's government source said the Fed's decision to reduce its $4.2 trillion in holdings of US Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities will have little impact on South Korea's policy rate decisions.

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The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 0.2 per cent at 2,408.54 points.

Gains for market heavyweights such as Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix contained broad market losses.

Samsung shares rose as much as 1.4 per cent, revisiting a intraday record-high at 2,648,000 won, spurred by expectations the tech giant's quarterly earnings will exceed the market's forecast.

Chipmaker SK Hynix also gained as much as 3.3 per cent after Japan's Toshiba agreed on Wednesday to sell its prized semiconductor business to a group led by US private equity firm Bain Capital. Bain Capital has partnered with SK Hynix.

Investors also took heart from robust exports data, with shipments jumping 31.1 per cent for the first 20 days of the month.

Foreign investors sold a net 50 billion won (S$59.67 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 591 to 215.

September futures on three-year treasury bonds shed 0.07 point to 108.93.

REUTERS