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Seoul stocks open nearly flat on virus flare-up

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) figures are displayed at a dealing room of a local bank in Seoul, Tuesday. (Yonhap)
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) figures are displayed at a dealing room of a local bank in Seoul, Tuesday. (Yonhap)
South Korean shares opened nearly flat Wednesday, as investors remained worried over soaring COVID-19 cases.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 0.16 point, or 0.01 percent, to 2,539.31 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Stocks came to a muted start despite vaccine hopes, as South Korea's new coronavirus cases hovered above 200 for the fourth day in a row Tuesday, with authorities warning that infection cases may further increase due to cluster infections in greater Seoul.

Concern over the virus also remained high in global financial markets. Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 0.56 percent to 29,783.35 points, with the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite slipping 0.21 percent and the S&P 500 losing 0.48 percent.

Most large caps traded mixed in Seoul.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics shed 0.61 percent, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix gained 0.2 percent.

Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics advanced 1.81 percent, with Celltrion adding 0.7 percent.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem rose 0.58 percent, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI edged up 0.1 percent.

Hyundai Motor, the country's largest carmaker, shed 1.1 percent.

Internet portal giant Naver jumped 2.36 percent, and its rival Kakao added 1.24 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,106.65 won against the US dollar, down 0.05 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)
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