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Seoul stocks open lower on virus spikes

South Korean shares opened lower Wednesday as new coronavirus outbreaks in major economies increased at alarming rates, raising concerns that the worsening pandemic may deliver heavy damage to the global economy.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 4.47 points, or 0.19 percent, to 2,326.37 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Investor sentiment grew risk-averse, as US COVID-19 hospitalization soared in the past week, with parts of Europe pushing or having adopted stricter quarantine measures. New cases in South Korea have also been on a steady rise, swerving between two and three-digit figures.

Dimming hopes for the fresh US stimulus plan and uncertainties from the US presidential election also added to investors' concerns.

In Seoul, most large caps traded mixed.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics dropped 1.17 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix slid 0.61 percent.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics gained 1.1 percent, but Hyundai Motor, the country's largest automaker, lost 0.58 percent.

Internet portal giant Naver advanced 1.23 percent, with its rival Kakao adding 2.25 percent.

Leading chemical maker LG Chem rose 0.47 percent, and top steelmaker Posco dipped 1.82 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,129.95 won against the US dollar, down 4.45 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)