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Seoul shares open higher on hope for exports recovery

South Korean stocks opened higher Monday as the country reported continued improvement in exports, led by the semiconductor industry.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index added 8.59 points, or 0.36 percent, to 2,418.25 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

The customs office said the country's exports increased 3.2 percent on-year to $18.2 billion in the first 10 days of the month, with outbound shipments of semiconductors gaining 1.3 percent, marking the first increase since August 2022.

But investors remained cautious after Moody's cut its rating outlook for the United States to "negative" from "stable," citing a political deadlock in Congress over spending as a potential risk to the nation's fiscal health.

In Seoul, market bellwether Samsung Electronics advanced 0.43 percent, with No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix surging 1.76 percent.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor lost 0.12 percent, while its smaller affiliate Kia rose 0.39 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,319.10 won against the dollar at 9:15 a.m., down 2.3 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)

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