Seoul shares fall late Wed. morning, hurt by chipmakers

SEOUL, South Korean stocks lost ground late Wednesday morning, hurt by declines in semiconductor stocks after Samsung Electronics reported its fourth-quarter earnings. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index had fallen 5.00 points, or 0.20 percent, to 2,493.81 as of 11:20 a.m. Overnight, U.S. stocks closed mixed as Wall Street waited for the Fed's latest decision on interest rates. The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 0.35 percent, while the SandP 500 shed 0.06 percent. The Nasdaq composite dropped 0.76 percent. In Seoul, tech shares took beatings, with Samsung Electronics, which reported a 34.4 percent on-year decrease in fourth quarter operating profit, sliding 1.08 percent. Chip rival SK hynix also shed 0.51 percent. Internet portal operators Naver and Kakao also traded lower, plummeting 3.10 percent and 2.39 percent, respectively. Auto and energy-related shares, however, advanced, with Hyundai Motor climbing 1.53 percent and leading chemical manufacturer LG Chem jumping 2.23 percent. The local currency was trading at 1,334.35 won against the U.S. dollar, down 4.95 won from the previous session's close. Source: Yonhap News Agency