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Seoul stocks open sharply lower on renewed virus fears


South Korean shares opened sharply lower Monday amid renewed fears over the new coronavirus prompted by a spike in the number of new cases over the weekend.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) plunged 31.70 points, or 1.49 percent, to 2,102.95 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

The drop is largely attributed to the resurgence in new COVID-19 cases.

South Korea added 62 new cases on Sunday, including 40 local infections, raising the total caseload to 12,715.

The tally marked the highest since June 20 when the country reported 67 new cases. It also marked a slight increase from 51 new cases reported Saturday.

Most large caps traded lower.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 1.50 percent, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix dipped 0.95 percent.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung BioLogics retreated 1.60 percent, with leading chemical maker LG Chem tumbling 1.80 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,203.90 won against the US dollar, down 3.30 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)