SEOUL, April 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares opened higher Thursday, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street amid optimism that coronavirus infections around the globe are nearing a peak.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 29.59 points, or 1.64 percent, to 1,836.73 in the first 15 minutes of trading.
The main index tracked overnight gains on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 3.4 percent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index gained 2.6 percent.
U.S. stocks soared amid the possibility that the coronavirus death toll and infections in the United States could peak this week and expectations that lockdowns could be lifted, said Huh Jae-hwan, a strategist at Eugene Investment Co.
In South Korea, new COVID-19 cases hovered around 50 for the third consecutive day, but its death toll topped 200.
In Seoul, most large-cap stocks rose across the board.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. rose 1.65 percent, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. was up 1.78 percent, and top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. gained 2.11 percent.
The local currency was trading at 1,213.10 won against the U.S. dollar, up 7.80 won from the previous session's close.
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