Seoul shares extend losses late Fri. morning on fading rate cut hope, weak won

South Korean stocks extended losses late Friday morning amid expectations over a delay in U.S. interest rate cuts this year. The Korean won fell sharply against the greenback. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index had sank 79.07 points, or 3 percent, to 2,555.63 as of 11:20 a.m. After rebounding in the previous session as investors scooped up bargains after four straight sessions of decline, Seoul shares again started weaker as market watchers betted on a delay in the U.S. rate cut. The market also extended losses during the morning on media reports saying Israel launched an attack on a target in Iran amid the escalating geopolitical tension in the Middle East. Shares lost ground across nearly all sectors, with top tech giant Samsung Electronics falling 4.02 percent and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix losing 6.64 percent. KB Financial decreased 2.81 percent, and Shinhan Financial slid 1.91 percent. Pharmaceutical companies were also among the major losers, with Samsung Biologics plunging 2.28 percen t and Celltrion moving down 3.22 percent. Amid the geopolitical tension, South Korea's top air carrier Korean Air Lines dipped 2.43 percent and Asiana Airlines plunged 3 percent. Jeju Air and Jin Air moved down 3 percent and 2.01 percent, respectively. The local currency was trading at 1,391.2 won against the greenback, down 18.3 won from the previous session's close. Source: Yonhap News Agency