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Seoul stocks open lower on dashed hopes for virus treatment

All News 09:28 April 24, 2020

SEOUL, April 24 (Yonhap) -- Seoul stocks opened lower Friday, despite rebounding oil prices, as investor sentiment was spooked by the news that a leading experimental coronavirus drug has shown a disappointing test result.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 14.90 points, or 0.78 percent, to 1,899.83 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

The main index got to a weak start on reports that Gilead Sciences Inc.'s antiviral drug remdesivir didn't show a satisfactory result in its first clinical trial, analysts said.

They said the KOSPI likely won't rise sharply as investors continue to assess the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on the global economy and corporate profitability for the January-March quarter.

Institutions offloaded 126 billion won (US$102 million) worth of stocks, offsetting foreigners and individuals' stock purchases valued at 128 billion won.

Most large-cap stocks retreated.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. fell 0.6 percent, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. declined 1 percent, No. 1 refiner SK Innovation Co. shed 0.5 percent and top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. was down 1.1 percent.

Among gainers, Korean Air Lines Co. rose 0.5 percent as the government is expected to release a financial support plan for the national flag carrier on Friday. No. 1 low-cost carrier Jeju Air Co. climbed 0.3 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,235.35 won against the U.S. dollar, down 5.65 won from the previous session's close.

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