Seoul shares trim earlier gains late Fri. morning after U.S. job data

Seoul shares trimmed earlier gains late Friday morning, with investors assessing the latest jobs data supporting the case for U.S. rate cuts. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 17.44 points, or 0.64 percent, to 2,729.58 as of 11:20 a.m. The number of U.S. jobless claims jumped last week to the highest level in more than eight months, renewing hopes for the Federal Reserve's rate cuts this year. Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 0.9 percent to 39,387.76 points, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.3 percent to 16,346.26. Individuals sold a net 311 billion won (US$228 million) worth of stocks, while institutions and foreigners bought a combined 338 billion won stocks. In Seoul, tech, auto and airline stocks led gains. No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. rose 2.2 percent, home appliance maker LG Electronics Inc. jumped 3.6 percent, top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. gained 1.1 percent, and national flag carrier Korean Air Co. was up 0.7 percent. Among decliners, leading battery maker LG Energy Solution Ltd. fell 0.6 percent, shipbuilder Hanwha Ocean Co. declined 3 percent, and leading refiner SK Innovation Co. shed 0.3 percent. The local currency was trading at 1,368.90 won against the U.S. dollar, up 1.2 won from the previous session's close. Source: Yonhap News Agency