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Seoul stocks open lower on coronavirus woes

All News 09:22 February 21, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks opened sharply lower Friday, tracking overnight losses on Wall Street amid rising concerns of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 18.56 points, or 0.85 percent, to 2,176.94 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

U.S. stock markets closed lower Thursday (local time) over the global spread of the novel coronavirus.

Investor sentiment was also hurt after U.S. Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida downplayed talks for a rate cut.

In Seoul, most large caps had a weak start on angst over the rapid spread of the virus here.

The country has reported 104 COVID-19 cases, with half of them confirmed in just two days.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics shed 1.17 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix dropped 0.96 percent.

Leading auto maker Hyundai Motor dipped 0.38 percent, while auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis declined 0.87 percent.

The country's No. 1 chemical firm, LG Chem, lost 1.07 percent, and top pharmaceutical firm Samsung BioLogics slid 1 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,204.50 won against the U.S. dollar, down 5.8 won from the previous session's close.

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