Seoul shares up late Thur. morning on U.S. rate cut hopes

South Korean shares continued to trade higher late Thursday morning after opening high on hopes of U.S. rate cuts. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 16.67 points, or 0.64 percent, to 2,626.25 as of 11:20 a.m. The KOSPI slightly extended gains after opening higher on Wall Street gains amid growing expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve may start slashing interest rates in the second quarter of the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.40 percent while the S and P 500 gained 0.82 percent to close at 4,955.06. In Seoul, large caps traded mixed. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics shed 0.40 percent, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix advanced 2.17 percent. Top battery maker LG Energy Solution gained 1.17 percent, with its local rival Samsung SDI surging 2.49 percent. Leading automaker Hyundai Motor advanced 1.43 percent, while its smaller affiliate Kia Motors slipped 0.52 percent. The local currency was trading at 1,327.15 won against the U.S. dollar, up 0.65 won fro m the previous session's close. Source: Yonhap News Agency