Seoul shares open flat despite US gains

South Korean stocks opened almost flat Wednesday as investors awaited the release of major corporate earnings reports.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index lost 0.69 points, or 0.03 percent, to 2,382.82 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Overnight, Wall Street ended higher as investors' expectations grew ahead of the release of tech bluechips' earnings reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.62 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite rose 0.93 percent and the S&P 500 increased 0.73 percent.

In Seoul, big-cap shares were mixed.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics added 0.29 percent, and SK hynix, the country's No. 2 chipmaker, gained 0.95 percent.

Auto shares got off to a strong start, with top carmaker Hyundai Motor up 0.11 percent, its smaller affiliate Kia up 0.61 percent and its auto parts-making affiliate Hyundai Mobis up 1.38 percent.

Home appliances maker LG Electronics jumped 1.14 percent.

On the other hand, battery and IT shares got off to a weak start.

Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution plunged 3.23 percent and its smaller rival Samsung SDI lost 3.02 percent. Posco Future M slid more than 4.4 percent.

Samsung Biologics dropped 1.22 percent, and Celltrion retreated 0.27 percent following big gains the previous day.

IT stocks also went south, with Internet portal operator Naver also down 0.32 percent, and Kakao, the operator of the country's top mobile messenger, down 1.14 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,345.20 won against the U.S. dollar at 9:15 a.m., down 2.1 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)

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