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Seoul stocks open sharply higher on chip, auto gains

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) figures are displayed at a dealing room of a local bank in Seoul. (Yonhap)
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) figures are displayed at a dealing room of a local bank in Seoul. (Yonhap)
South Korean stocks opened sharply higher Monday on strong advances by chip and auto heavyweights, despite concerns over the spreading coronavirus pandemic in the global markets.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 21.86 points, or 0.88 percent, to 2,515.73 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Investor sentiment remained strong in the wake of the vaccine rally that elevated the KOSPI to an over 2-year high and the S&P 500 to a pre-pandemic high.

The strong local currency against the US greenback also lifted the local stocks.

Large tech and auto shares traded bullish, pushing the KOSPI above the 2,500 mark.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics jumped 2.53 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix added 2.45 percent.

Hyundai Motor, the country's largest carmaker, advanced 1.41 percent.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem sank 4.11 percent, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI dipped 2.99 percent.

Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics climbed 0.53 percent, and Celltrion rose 0.34 percent.

Internet portal giant Naver slipped 0.36 percent, and its rival Kakao shed 0.96 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,108.35 won against the US dollar, up 7.25 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)
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