South Korean stocks got off to a weak start Wednesday, as downbeat data from Europe, coupled with an energy crisis amid Russia's war in Ukraine, amplified fears over a global economic downturn.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) retreated 27.89 points, or 1.19 percent, to 2,313.89 in the first 15 minutes of trading.
The steep decline in euro, Germany's trade deficit in more than three decades, and a drop in oil prices fueled concerns over a global recession, sending the main US indexes down Tuesday (US time) before they ended the session mixed due to tech gains.
Most market heavyweights in Seoul fell.
Tech heavyweight Samsung Electronics lost 0.9 percent, and top automaker Hyundai Motor dipped 1.4 percent. Oil refiner SK Innovation tumbled more than 4 percent.
In contrast, leading battery maker LG Energy Solution gained nearly 1 percent, and pharmaceutical giant Celltrion rose 1 percent.
The local currency started sharply lower against the US dollar, trading at 1,309.25 won as of 9:15 a.m., down 8.95 won from Tuesday's close. (Yonhap)