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Seoul stocks open lower on virus woes


South Korean shares opened lower Friday on concerns over the virus pandemic's impact on the export-driven economy.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 9.73 points, or 0.44 percent, to 2,206.46 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

The index got off to a weak start, with signals that the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic may be slower than the authorities earlier expected.

South Korean vice finance minister warned that the country's export slump is likely to be deeper and prolonged due to a resurgence of the virus across the world.

South Korea's economy contracted 2.9 percent in the second quarter from the same period last year, marking the worst reading in more than 20 years, according to Bank of Korea (BOK) data.

Large caps traded mixed.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics stayed flat, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix gained 0.97 percent.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung BioLogics lost 1.55 percent, with leading chemical maker LG Chem dipping 2.44 percent.

The country's top automaker Hyundai Motor advanced 2.81 percent.

Internet giant Naver climbed 0.35 percent, while its rival Kakao retreated 0.91 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,201.65 won against the US dollar, up 4.35 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)