Seoul shares open higher despite U.S. losses

SEOUL, South Korean stocks started higher Wednesday on foreign and institutional buying despite overnight losses on Wall Street. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) climbed 11.49 points, or 0.43 percent, to 2,669.28 in the first 15 minutes of trading. Overnight, the U.S. stock market lost ground on investors' profit-taking ahead of the earnings release of artificial intelligence (AI) chip leader Nvidia. Nvidia is expected to release strong fourth-quarter results later Wednesday thanks to continued demand for the company's AI chips. In Seoul, market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 0.27 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix gained 0.47 percent. Auto shares also started in positive terrain, with Hyundai motor up 1.65 percent and Kia up 1.64 percent. Battery shares were mixed. Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution lost 0.37 percent and POSCO Future M retreated 0.49 percent, but Samsung SDI advanced 0.38 percent. Samsung CandT, the de facto holding company of Samsung Group, and S amsung Life Insurance jumped 2.03 percent and 5.14 percent, respectively, on expectations of an increase in shareholders' value. The local currency was trading at 1,334.20 won against the U.S. dollar, up 3.4 won from the previous session's close. Source: Yonhap News Agency