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Seoul stocks open lower amid COVID-19 concerns

Stock market in South Korea (Yonhap)
Stock market in South Korea (Yonhap)
South Korean stocks opened slightly lower Monday as investors remain cautious about the country's resurgence of new coronavirus cases.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) fell 2.02 points, or 0.06 percent, to 3,252.4 points in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Stocks retreated after a two-day gain, as the spiking cases sapped demand for risky assets.

On Friday, the government extended the highest Level 4 quarantine measures in the Seoul metropolitan area for another two weeks through Aug. 8, and non-metropolitan areas will be placed under the second-toughest virus curbs Tuesday for two weeks.

Bio stocks advanced in Seoul, while chemical and autos slowed.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics lost 0.25 percent, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix added 0.42 percent.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics gained 1.68 percent, while leading carmaker Hyundai Motor and secondary battery maker Samsung SDI traded flat.

Internet portal giant Naver moved up 1.66 percent, but giant chemical maker LG Chem lost 1.09 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,152.95 won to the US dollar, down 2.15 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)