Seoul shares down 1.48 pct in late Mon. morning trade

SEOUL, South Korean stocks traded sharply lower late Monday morning as investors sought to cash in recent gains. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) had declined 38.63 points, or 1.48 percent, to 2,576.68 as of 11:20 a.m. Chipmakers led the decline, with the world's No. 1 Samsung Electronics declining 1.73 percent and its rival SK hynix falling 0.96 percent. Kia, the country's second-largest carmaker, lost 1.92 percent and its auto parts affiliate Hyundai Mobis skidded 1.51 percent. Leading battery maker Samsung SDI dropped 1.02 percent and top oil refiner SK Innovation sank 1.53 percent. The local currency had been trading at 1,337.1 won against the U.S. dollar as of 11:20 a.m., down 14.5 won from the previous session's close. Source: Yonhap News Agency