Seoul shares turn lower late Wed. morning

SEOUL, South Korean stocks turned lower late Wednesday morning after starting marginally higher as big-cap tech and financial shares lost ground. After starting 0.43 percent higher, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) had lost 9.98 points, or 0.38 percent, to 2,647.81 as of 11:20 a.m. 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 lost 0.27 percent, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix gained 0.4 percent. Top automaker Hyundai Motor dropped 1.03 percent and its smaller affiliate Kia fell 0.69 percent. Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution edged down 0.12 percent, and leading chemical producer LG Chem plunged 2.67 percent. Financial shares went south. KB Financial Group shot down 4.71 percent, Shinhan Fi nancial Group dipped 1.16 percent, and Hana Financial Group slid 1.78 percent. Samsung Life Insurance was among the few gainers, jumping 4.41 percent on expectations of an increase in shareholder value. The local currency was trading at 1,335.50 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2.1 won from the previous session's close. Source: Yonhap News Agency