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Seoul stocks open sharply lower on profit-taking

Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) (Yonhap)
Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) (Yonhap)
South Korean stocks opened steeply lower Monday as foreign and retail investors sold local stocks to take profits.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index lost 42.26 points, or 1.37 percent, to 3,043.64 points in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Samsung Electronics shed 1.93 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix retreated 1.18 percent.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem dipped 2.25 percent, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI slumped 2.99 percent.

Internet portal operator Naver fell 0.82 percent, and its rival Kakao declined 0.69 percent.

Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics went down 0.62 percent, but Celltrion gained 1.98 percent. Top automaker Hyundai Motor lost 0.82 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,105.4 won against the US dollar, down 6 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)