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Seoul stocks open higher on US stimulus hopes

South Korean stocks opened slightly higher Monday on hopes of fresh US stimulus to insulate the fallout from the pandemic.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 6.17 points, or 0.26 percent, to 2,366.98 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

On Sunday (Washington time), US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would push for an agreement for the new stimulus scheme amid a resurgence of the virus.

The United States reported 83,757 new COVID-19 cases Friday (US time), an all-time record for the country, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

In Seoul, large caps traded mixed.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics edged up 0.33 percent, following the death of its Chairman Lee Kun-hee a day earlier.

No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix rose 0.36 percent, while major pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics jumped 3.3 percent.

Top internet portal operator Naver fell 0.52 percent, while top chemical company LG Chem tumbled 1.54 percent.

Leading carmaker Hyundai Motor declined 0.6 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,129.5 won against the US dollar, up 3.4 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)