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Seoul stocks open sharply lower on Mideastern tensions

All News 09:23 January 08, 2020

SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks opened more than 1 percent lower Wednesday following overnight losses on Wall Street and reports of Iran's missile attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) plunged 21.97 points, or 1.01 percent, to 2,153.57 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

The weak start came shortly after Iran's state media reported a series of missile attacks against a U.S. air base in Iraq, further heightening tensions in the Middle East that began late last week when the U.S. killed a top Iranian general in a drone strike.

Washington earlier warned of additional strikes against Iranian targets in case of retaliation by the Middle Eastern country.

The U.S. stock market closed lower Tuesday (New York time) with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing 119.70 points, or 0.42 percent, to 28,583.68.

In Seoul, most large caps were in negative terrain, while chipmakers opened higher.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics added 0.36 percent, but leading automaker Hyundai Motor lost 0.43 percent, while top chemical company LG Chem tumbled 1.93 percent.

State-run power company KEPCO plunged 2.19 percent, with top refiner SK Innovation sliding 2.08 percent.

The won was trading at 1,176.95 won against the U.S. dollar, sharply down 10.55 won from the previous session's close.


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