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Seoul stocks open sharply higher on hopes of virus vaccine


South Korean shares opened sharply higher Tuesday, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street that followed reports of positive results from a vaccine development test.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) surged 40.35 points, or 2.08 percent, to 1,977.46 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

The stock market rally follows overnight gains on Wall Street, where hopes of COVID-19 vaccine development and a pledge from US Fed chief to support the economy helped boost investor sentiment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average spiked 911.35 points, or 3.85 percent, to close at 24,597.37 on Monday.

On Sunday, Powell said the Fed has not run out of ammunition to help the economy. On Monday he again pledged to use a "full range of tools" to minimize the economic fallout from the virus outbreak.

Also, US pharmaceutical firm Moderna reported what it called promising results from its very early stage testing of a candidate vaccine.

In Seoul, most large caps opened in positive terrain.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics soared 2.66 percent, with No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix adding 1.48 percent.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor surged 4.68 percent while its smaller affiliate Kia Motors jumped 7.16 percent.

The local currency sharply rose against the US dollar, trading at 1,221.90 won per dollar, up 10.50 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)