Seoul stocks opened sharply lower Tuesday as investors weigh the fallout from the collapse of two US banks and uncertainties over the Federal Reserve's monetary tightening.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index shed 36.51 points, or 1.51 percent, to 2,374.09 in the first 15 minutes of trading.
The failures of Silicon Valley Bank, the largest shutdown of a US bank since the 2008 financial crisis, and the New York-based Signature Bank fanned sell-offs by foreign and institutional investors
Investors are also bracing for uncertainties about the Fed's pace of monetary tightening in the wake of the banks' collapse.
Some expect the Fed to slow its tightening pace on worries that the collapses may lead to a systemic risk in the financial sector.
Seoul's finance minister said earlier in the day that the authorities will closely monitor the market.
In Seoul, top cap Samsung Electronics retreated 1.17 percent, and chipmaker SK hynix dropped 2.97 percent.
Leading battery maker LG energy Solutions lost 1.95 percent, and chemical giant LG Chem declined 2.09 percent. Top carmaker Hyundai Motor decreased 1.36 percent.
The local currency was changing hands at 1,301.45 won against the greenback as of 9:15 a.m., up 0.35 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)