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Seoul stocks open lower on virus woes


Seoul stocks opened lower Friday following a three-session winning streak as investors continue to assess the economic impact of the new coronavirus.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 9.21 points, or 0.41 percent, to 2,218.73 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Some investors turn to offload stocks on profit-taking following the market's solid rebound in the past three sessions from a 5.7 percent decline last week.

Positive factors include China's decision to cut tariffs on $75 billion of US imports, reports of possible vaccines for the virus though the World Health Organization said there are no proven treatments, and Beijing's extended stimulus measures to support its economy, according to analysts.

In Seoul, tech, auto and airline stocks were lead decliners.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. fell 0.7 percent, top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. declined 1.1 percent, and leading steelmaker Posco shed 0.7 percent.

Among gainers, leading chemical firm LG Chem Ltd. rose 0.5 percent, and the state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. climbed 0.6 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,186.60 won against the US dollar, down 6.8 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)