On Tuesday, South Korean stocks opened slightly higher as investors approached with caution ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's rate-setting meeting scheduled for later this week. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 2.56 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,577.28 in the first 15 minutes of trading.
Investors are keeping a vigilant eye on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, a two-day event starting Tuesday. While the market anticipates the U.S. central bank to maintain the current rates, expectations are also high for one more rate hike this year, given the substantial economic recovery of the world's largest economy.
In the lead-up to the FOMC meeting, U.S. stocks closed with little change on Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average grew by 0.02 percent, Nasdaq Composite inched up by 0.01 percent, and the S&P 500 rose by 0.07 percent.
Back in Seoul, big-cap stocks traded mixed on Tuesday morning. Samsung Electronics (KS:005930), the world's leading memory chipmaker, saw a gain of 0.43 percent, while its rival SK Hynix jumped by 1.43 percent. Steel giant Posco Holdings advanced 0.17 percent and its chemical materials unit Posco Future M climbed 0.61 percent.
The automotive sector showed mixed results as well: Top carmaker Hyundai Motor (OTC:HYMTF) added 0.16 percent, but its smaller affiliate Kia dipped by 0.13 percent and its auto parts-making affiliate Hyundai Mobis dropped by 0.64 percent.
The battery shares, including LG Energy Solution and Samsung SDI, remained flat during this period while leading chemical producer LG Chem retreated more than 1.5 percent.
Amid these market movements, the local currency was trading at 1,321.30 won against the U.S. dollar at 9:15 a.m., marking an increase of 3.1 won from Monday's close.
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