Seoul shares open lower on Fed minutes

South Korean stocks opened lower Thursday, tracking overnight losses on Wall Street spooked by hawkish tones in the latest minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index shed 15.57 points, or 0.57 percent, to 2,707.89 in the first 15 minutes of trading. In the United States, S andP 500 fell 0.3 percent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.5 percent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite went down 0.2 percent as the Fed minutes showed the disappointment of its officials over sticky inflation. The market also expects the Bank of Korea to freeze its key rate at 3.5 percent for the 11th consecutive session later in the day. In Seoul, most of the big-cap shares lost ground. Tech behemoth Samsung Electronics retreated 0.39 percent, and leading battery maker LG Energy Solution dropped 0.82 percent. Top automaker Hyundai Motor plunged 2.71 percent following a rally the previous day, and its smaller affiliate Kia fell 1.51 percent. Steel giant POSCO Holdings shed 0.9 perc ent, and chemical producer LG Chem lost 0.39 percent. IT and insurance shares were also weak. Internet portal operator Naver was down 0.93 percent, and Kakao, the operator of the country's top mobile messenger, lost 0.98 percent. KB Financial Group pulled back more than 1 percent, and Hana Financial Group declined 0.64 percent. SK hynix was one of the few gainers, jumping 1.16 percent on the back of a stronger-than-expected earnings report by U.S. chip giant Nvidia, released after the U.S. stock markets closed. The local currency was trading at 1,366.80 won against the U.S. dollar, down 3.9 won from the previous session's close.