Seoul shares start higher on Wall Street rally

South Korean stocks got off to a strong start Friday following an overnight rally on Wall Street. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 20.45 points, or 0.77 percent, to 2,684.72 in the first 15 minutes of trading. In the United States, Nvidia's surprising earnings result pushed up the indexes to new highs, as the S and P 500 jumped 2.11 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.18 percent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite also vaulted 2.96 percent. In Seoul, semiconductor shares were the biggest winners. Samsung Electronics, the world's No. 1 memory chip maker, rose 0.27 percent and its rival SK hynix, a key supplier for Nvidia, jumped 6.2 percent. Top oil refiner SK Innovation added 0.24 percent, and leading builder Samsung C and T advanced 3.6 percent. But No. 1 air carrier Korean Air Lines retreated 0.64 percent, and HD Korea Shipbuilding and Offshore Engineering skidded 0.94 percent. The local currency was trading at 1,328.1 won against the U.S. dollar, up 0.9 won from the previous session's close.